Abundant Living Vol. XIV, Issue 3

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” 

– Jeremiah 29:11 

“Strange, isn’t it?  Each man’s life touches so many other lives.”  Clarence the Guardian Angel pointed out to his earthly mentee George Bailey in Frank Capra’s classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  “When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”  George, if you are familiar with the story, was on the verge of suicide, convinced his life was a failure and that he was worth more dead than alive.  That’s when Clarence, a second-class angel trying to earn his wings, was sent to earth to save him and to show him otherwise.  George, you see, even though life had not turned out for him the way he planned, actually had a wonderful life, had accomplished much in how he had impacted the lives of other people, and how deeply he was loved by his family and community.

George had dreams of one day becoming great, building tall buildings, making fortunes and traveling the world.  He made one mistake, though, like many of us in our early years, the belief that becoming successful at what we do is what defines who we are, when in fact it is the exact opposite.  It is instead who we are that inspires what we do.

One of my favorite friends ever was a man from my hometown named Press Canon who passed away last year at age ninety.  I had the great privilege of being asked to speak at his funeral service, which was not surprisingly a packed house.  Press had made his living as an auto mechanic.  He was the go-to person to get your car repaired, who you could always depend on for getting it done right.  But being a great mechanic did not define who Press was; rather, it was who Press was that made him to be a great mechanic, for his first concern was always the person he was serving, not the car he was repairing.

Clarence the Angel came to teach George Bailey what Press Canon already knew, how “each man’s life touches so many others.”  But most of all Press knew his Plan-Maker and source of his prosperity.  And though a modest man as measured by financial success, Press followed the plans laid out for him and became the richest man in town. 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

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