From James Dodwell, Hammers for Hope
There is a white strip of label tape placed just above the radio display of the truck dashboard. Printed on the strip are the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I placed it there so I will not fail to see the words each time I enter the cab. The words on the label tape are committed to memory and I notice the strip each time I enter but I don’t actually read them every time; however I am very aware of their meaning and my intentions of the placement. This is the second or third application of the label. Over time the sun’s rays warm the dash along with the interior of the cab which causes the heat sensitive label material to darken and the words fade. When I notice this happening, I will remove the old strip and replace it with a shiny new one so the message is once again legible. However, I don’t always notice the faded condition right away because it is clearly visible. I know it’s there, right? I know what is printed on it; so I don’t really need to read it every day because I have it memorized, right? Wrong…
I put the strip there so I would read it each day as a reminder why I am able to do the things I do. It is there to remind me I can’t do it alone. It is there to remind me of His unconditional love. It is there to remind me my daily walk is through Him and because of Him. It is there to remind me to think of others. It is there to remind be to be a better husband, father, friend, a Good Samaritan…and that our talents and abilities are gifts to be used to make a difference and add value. When I notice the words on the strip waning from the heat and sunlight, I am made aware of how my faith wanes, at times. It’s usually when I am in the shadow of the world which creates a deficiency of “Son” Light. It’s during times when I think I can make my own way, do whatever I want to, make decisions without prayer and listening for His input that I realize I have allowed the world to get between Him and me thus eclipsing His light.
The good news about an eclipse is as you watch it happen; the object blocking the light begins to move away revealing the source of light that was briefly hidden. I began to realize the things of the world, obstacles and problems are always in motion; suddenly appearing without warning, and sometimes with warnings we don’t heed; constantly seeking a spot between us and Him, eclipsing the source of light. However, the source of light remains a fixed point, a true source, never too far away, always there, waiting patiently for us to turn around, arms open, heart open, forgiving, forgetting, clearing the path of obstacles that cause us to stumble and all we need to do is ask Him to remove the old selfish label and help us apply a new selfless label to make us shiny and new again.
Oh, it will not be easy and it will take some work getting the old label removed. There will be some pain involved, a little hair pulling, redness of the face, shortness of breath, watery eyes and a sniffle or two, but it’s worth it. Hopefully, we have learned our lesson. We will make it a priority to look at our label each day and truly see it, inspect it carefully for signs of wear and signs of waning. We are better equipped now to see the obstacles in our path. We are forward thinking, forward looking, forward moving individuals focused on the true source and have decided on the truth source from which we will live and grow.
We have chosen to apply the truth source to our daily lives because we know it will only work if we do. We know if we do it only in theory, it will not have any power over us when we really need the truth source to guide us during tough times. And tough times will come again, they are in constant motion, remember? The good news is we determine our life mission and values because they are gifted through Him. Once we realize our passion and the contribution we want to make in life, we can do all things through Him. Now our identity is secure and we like the person we are becoming, because we know through whom it comes and who is in control.
I encourage each of us to stay connected to our truth source by sharing our faith, showing our love, offering hope and expressing our joy. It is good to know when we respond to the relevant needs of others that our label states we are making a difference and adding value. Philippians 4:13
Have a wonderful day,