Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 24, 2010


Some things are worth doing as long as you live


Almost every night my wife asks me, “What are you going to do tomorrow?” Then I share with her whatever plans I have for the next day. Her question reminds me that life is about “doing” things. We do this; we do that.

During a lifetime we have the opportunity to do many things. We do things that are wise and some things that are foolish. Some bring us joy, others disappointment. Eventually we learn there is not enough time or money to do everything. So we make choices and do things that are within our reach.   

As we grow older the aging process takes its toll. A dwindling supply of strength curtails our activities. We tire more easily. We are more vulnerable to cynicism. We can more easily get down on ourselves – and other people. Fortunate we are if early on we learn to distinguish between things that are worth doing and things that are not. There are certain things that are worth their weight in gold – things that are worth doing as long as we live. These things we must not neglect lest we deny ourselves the supreme joy of living. Here is my list:  

One, encourage other people. The value of encouragement cannot be overestimated. Everybody needs it. Everybody can give it. Nobody lives well without it. Children need it. Young people need it. Adults need it. Old people must have it to survive. Look around every day for someone you can encourage.

Two, speak graciously to people. Be friendly rather than rude or indifferent. Our culture has become too impersonal. Many people feel no need to speak to others. Sales clerks often do no more than tell the customer the cost of an item and extend a hand for the money. Some return the change without offering a "thank you" for shopping in the store. Such a scene can usually be changed in a heartbeat by a friendly word spoken in kindness. 

Three, smile at people. A frown requires more energy than a smile so do yourself a favor and smile a lot. Smile even when you are hurting. Usually you will get a smile in return. I smile a lot because I don’t want even a stranger passing me to say, "There goes an old sourpuss; he must have heartburn." We have a choice.  We can frown, stare, or smile. A friendly smile is always the best choice. 

Four, choose to be positive. Be positive even when others are negative. Look for something positive in every situation. Negative talk helps no one. You will never go home at night, put your head on your pillow, and say, "All that negative talk sure did me a lot of good today!" Positive thinking inspires people.  

Five, tell your friends how much they mean to you. Your friends need to know you care. If you don’t tell them, they may never know. A good friend is more precious than silver or gold. Value your friendships. True friends help us to admit the truth about ourselves. They encourage us to do our best in the daily tests of life. We can afford to lose our possessions; we cannot afford to lose our friends.

Six, do a good deed for someone in need. If an apple a day is helpful, a good deed at day is more helpful. A good deed can be simple and inexpensive. Send someone a note, a card, or a letter. Share your pickles or cookies with someone. My friend Bob Money brought me some blueberries. I sent Bob some pecans. You could take the time to take someone out to lunch. Give someone who is sick or discouraged a good book. Love can be expressed in many small and wonderful ways.

Seven, enjoy the beauty of the world. Take a moment to watch the rain fall or the tree tops swaying in the wind. Throw some cornbread to the little sparrows searching for food. My sisters Neva and Margie are in New England enjoying the beautiful fall colors. If we are unable to take a trip, we can admire the flowers that dare to bloom in cold weather.  Study the rapidly changing shapes and colors of a sunrise or a sunset. Look to see if the moon is full. The world is filled with beauty; enjoy some of it!

Eight, write a few lines in your Bible. Jot down what a certain verse or passage means to you. One day you will be gone but your Bible will still be around. Leave a few choice observations for your children or grandchildren to enjoy when they are looking through your Bible. Your faith can inspire their own faith.  

Nine,take time to pray. Pray for your family and your friends. Pray for the people who irritate you. Pray for the President and our nation. Pray for understanding, so that you can use your time wisely doing things that are worth doing. Give thanks for your blessings.  Enjoy what you have.  Be satisfied with it. Do not envy your neighbor. Contentment is its own reward. Thank God even for your aches and pains; they remind you that you are alive, and life is a precious gift.

Ten, apply the sweet oil of forgiveness to the wounds of the day. Harsh words separate people. But the separation need not be permanent. Pride is an infection of the soul for which forgiveness is the best medicine. Use it liberally.

We cannot do everything but these are a few things that are worth doing as long as we have breath. And while none of us can do these things perfectly, we should be ashamed to die without having tried. +