“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”
“I tell you the truth, anything you do for the least of my people here, you also do for me.”
I have taken hundreds of photos of flowers over the years, perhaps thousands. But, there’s a photo I took last summer, on a hike in Montana, of tiny pink bell-shaped flowers cascading down from somewhere high overhead, that still comes to mind every now and then.
I think the reason they cross my mind so often is their humble appearance.
Even if no one else stopped to notice them that day, those Twinflowers willingly bent low to bless anyone on the lookout for little love gifts such as these. They certainly blessed me.
But, for all their sweetness, few people would have noticed them, because looming large nearby, tall stalks of bright fuchsia-colored Fireweed and fiery red Indian Paintbrush eclipsed them. Tiny pale flowers clinging to rock’s edge are easily overlooked.
As is often the case, it’s the bright showy blossoms that catch folk’s eyes.
That seems true of people too. We are often enamored by the bright, the beautiful, and the talented.
Perhaps that’s why the upstaged Twinflowers touched me so. And touch me still. Their humble presence reminds me so much of my Grandpa Simey…and of the Savior.
My gramps walked gently upon this earth of ours. He was unassuming. A man of few words. Whose love of God was lived out in humility. Caring. Generosity.
His father died when he was six. At the age of ten he was sent to live in a boarding house where he worked for his keep. Skilled, but, not schooled, he became a machinist by trade. With carpentry skills to boot, he also built a few houses in his day. But, it wasn't these abilities that made him memorable.
It was what my grandpa did behind the scenes that is his true legacy. Growing up in poverty, he never forgot what it felt like to have nothing. Once, after reading a story about a family living in their car in his small-town newspaper, he went in search of them. When he discovered their whereabouts, he brought groceries, clothing and money to help tide them over.
When my grandpa died, over 700 people came to pay their respects. Story-after-story was shared by those who attended, telling of his generosity and gentle, unpretentious life of self-giving. Each one touched by God in some way by my Twinflower grandpa who, too, bent low to bless.
When Jesus walked this earth, he was always on the lookout for those with deep needs. The gospels are full of stories of Jesus eating dinner with down-and-outer's. Of crossing the racial divide. Of healing the blind. The sick. The oppressed.
Everywhere he went someone was touched by his mercy, his healing, his love, his grace.
But, it wasn’t Jesus’ beauty or majesty that attracted folks to him, according to Isaiah 53:2. In fact, The Message says that there was nothing in his appearance that would cause anyone to take a second look.
Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth was selfless. He came not to be recognized or idolized. Not to be attended to or waited on. But, to serve.
Even in his death, he sacrificially poured out his life on the Cross for the love of us. Conquering death he wiped our sin and failures clean away. Giving anyone who believes in him a fresh start.
A fresh start.
An example to follow.
An opportunity to live as he did. As my grandpa did. As those tiny pink Twinflowers did.
A life of self-giving. Bending low whenever possible to bless.
How might you make life beautiful for others today?