“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable." -Moliere (1622 - 1673)
In the Old Testament, the story is told of Elisha, the Prophet, and the widow who had nothing to support her, except a little oil. The Prophet told her to pour a little oil into many jars, borrowed from neighbors. Even as she poured a little, the jar was filled to the brim. In a short time she had many jars standing with oil in each. Now, she could sell the oil and support herself and her children.
In the New Testament, we have Jesus doing something similar. Jars of water, each holding about 20 to 30 gallons, were transformed into wine, which the steward at the wedding feast at Cana, certified as good. Later, with five loaves and two fish Jesus fed a crowd of over 5000.
In each of these wonders we have something in common. Elisha and Jesus did not shun meager resources - a little oil, jars of water and five loaves of bread and two fish. In fact, they insisted on having insufficient material to produce in abundance. They multiplied a little into a lot. In doing that they teach us that resources and opportunities, no matter how small, can be the starting point for great works.
Let us turn the searchlight on ourselves. How do we use the resources and opportunities we have? Ignore them? Treat them with scant respect because they are not significant? Make a start and give up because results are not encouraging?
Moliere reminds us that we are accountable for what we do and what we fail to do; for what we accomplish and what we fail to attempt; for what we do well and what we do shoddily. We are responsible for success and failure to succeed, for want of effort.
Some of us are highly intelligent, but waste that asset in idleness. Some have gifts in the language - speak and write with remarkable clarity and persuasion - yet, will not use the gifts to benefit themselves and others. Some others have talents in music, painting and the fine arts, but will not develop those talents profitably.
"Opportunities come our way in the form of helping hands, friendships, words of advice and encouragement. We spurn them because we think differently and scoff those who caution us. We do not accept the gifts that come to us, either ignoring them or under-rating their importance. The stars are still there; it is just that we do not see them. We are cussed in our attitude."
It is time we took stock of the neglected resources and opportunities in our lives. Is there a relationship that we are despising? (Is there a husband who does not acknowledge the love of his wife? Is there a wife who refuses to notice the little acts of love her husband performs? Are some children unmindful of the great sacrifices that parents make? Are some of us ungrateful to our benevolent employers? Do we heed the words of a friend who is trying to steer us away from sinful habits? Do we turn away from God?) Is there a talent dying in us? (The violin that was once played with gusto is now collecting dust in the attic. The canvas that was once adorned with vivid strokes of color, is faded and beyond recognition. The carpenter`s tools that once fashioned beautiful furniture, lies unused for years.)
Does all this happen because we are indolent and will not work for success with what we have and what comes to us? Wasted opportunities are like sundials in the shade; and resources do not always take the shape of money and materials. Even time is an immeasurable and precious resource. To put enthusiasm into renewed efforts, let us imagine how the collective influence of opportunities and resources can change our lives splendidly. Let us count our blessings - there are too many to count.