Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Column - Sharon Slaton Howell

Words that last

Most writers I suppose would like to think that their words will be, if not like those of Shakespeare, as least somewhat long-lasting.  But there are words that will be, that will be around as long as time is.

These words are those of Christ Jesus, who once said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."  And they have not, as Mary Baker Eddy says in one of her books.  They are as timely and potent and life-giving today as when they were first spoken.

Recently we saw a documentary about Mahatma Gandhi when someting the narrator said jumped out at me.  Gandhi, he said, would tell his fellow Hindus "unless you study reverentially all the teachings of Jesus, your life will be incomplete."  And he added, "Gandhi loved Jesus."

So powerful are our Master's teachings, I couldn't help thinking about the lives of those Indians who were transformed as something Jesus said took root in their thoughts and hearts.  This was the case with Felix Mendelssohn, composer of glorious music, who happened to pick up a New Testament one day and was forever changed by a statement of Christ's.  Although brought up as a Jew, Mendelssohn at once converted to Christianity.

My life would certainly be incomplete without God's Word.  More than this, life would lack joy and peace, and a sense of divine power with which to overcome difficulties that arise.  How have Jesus' words impacted my life for good, you may wonder?  How have these sublime saysings not had an influence for good.

I could fill a book with real-life examples, but let me give just this one.  I was working at an international daily newspaper.  My desk was right across from a woman who was a long-time employee in the newsroom.  In fact, she was secretary to the Editor and wielded a lot of clout.  For some reason, she took a dislike to me and over time, began to make my life miserable.  Things became so bad, I dreaded going to work each day.

Finally, I reached out to a friend who was experienced in helping people with their problems.  After a lengthy recital of the wrongs being done to me (I thought), I paused to hear this Christian Science practitioner and teacher ask, "Do you really want to be free?"  This was quite unexpected, but I said, "Of course I do."  "Then you will have to love this lady", my friend said.  "There is no other way."  Shocked was a mild word to describe what I was feeling.  Didn't you hear what I said? I wanted to say.  Clearly, I was in the right, and it was my co-worker who needed to change.

However, after I hung up the phone, what this woman said began to take hold.  It was plain that if I wanted to be obedient to Christ's commands, I would have to tackle this the right way.  To say that this seemed insurmountable was an understatement.  And I recall one afternoon while waiting for a commuter train out to the suburbs, I was walking up and down that platform in tears, so hard did it seem to get over my resentment of the fellow worker.  "I can't do this", I said to God.  "Ask me to love anyone but her."  Eventually, however, Christ got the victory, and by the time my co-worker retired, we were very good friends, someone I was going to miss a lot.

Our Master spoke words that will last.  And so will we -- eternally -- as we live by what He said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sharon, I loved this article.