A Meditation

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. –Romans 12:9-11

If you are under 50 years of age, you may not remember Cary Grant. He was an actor and superstar in every sense of the word. In his later years, he made occasional appearances in theaters around the United States billed simply as “A Conversation with Cary Grant.” He didn’t need much advertising; one small ad would appear in the local newspaper and the theater would immediately sell out. Everywhere he appeared, he received a standing ovation when he walked onto the stage.

At the end of each performance he would always read a meditation, saying he didn’t know who wrote it but the words also expressed his feelings about life. I like it very much and offer it to you today:

Now LORD, you’ve known me a long time. You know me better than I know myself. You know that each day I am growing older and someday may even be very old, so meanwhile please keep me from the habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from trying to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not overbearing. I’ve a certain amount of knowledge to share, still it would be very nice to have a few friends who, at the end, recognized and forgave the knowledge I lacked.

Keep my tongue free from the recital of endless details. Seal my lips on my aches and pains: They increase daily and the need to speak of them becomes almost a compulsion. I ask for grace enough to listen to the retelling of others’ afflictions, and to be helped to endure them with patience.

I would like to have an improved memory, but I’ll settle for growing humility and an ability to capitulate when my memory clashes with the memory of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that on some occasions, I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably kind; I’ve never aspired to be a saint, saints must be rather difficult to live with yet, on the other hand, an embittered old person is a constant burden.

Please give me the ability to see good in unlikely places and talents in unexpected people. And give me the grace to tell them so, dear LORD.*

Romans 12:9-16 and Cary Grant’s meditation summarize a lifestyle that is humble, balanced, and focused. Take a moment to think about what areas in your life need your silence, love, or help. I bet you can find at least one. I sure can in my own life!

1. What point in Cary Grant’s meditation strikes you the most?

2. Paraphrase Romans 12:9-16. Ask God to help you to live out Psalm 128:1-2 in your life this week.

Romans 12:9-16; Psalm 128:1-2

*Cary Grant, quoted in “Dear Abby,” November 29, 1991, “The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages,” carygrant.net

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

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