A number of years ago, a high school senior in our town took his own life. At his funeral, an aunt spoke of when he was a little boy visiting her home. Her kitchen window was two stories up from the back yard. While she was fixing dinner he climbed up a tree to a limb where he could look in her kitchen window at eye level with her. She was startled, to say the least.
But once he got out on the limb he could not get back down and his father had to climb up the tree and help him down to the ground. Then she said that that was the story of his short life. In the end, he had gotten himself out on a limb and couldn’t get down.
Her point was that many people in life are out on a limb and don’t know how to get down. We need to be there to help them, but, even more importantly, One greater than any of us is always available.
God provides a way down. He sent His Son to die for our sins. There is no way we can earn salvation or deserve heaven as our eternal home. We are out there on a limb, but the Father is there to come and get us and bring us down. That is made possible through his Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and master. That is the message of the cross. Let’s accept it for ourselves, and then share the message with a lost and dying world.
Few things have more impact with less noise than a shadow. The shadow of a tree or a building can give relief from the heat and respite from a crowd. The same is true of the shadow of the life of someone important to us. For example, in Acts 5:15 many of the people of Jerusalem carried the sick out into the street “…that at least Peter’s shadow might fall upon some of them as he passed by.” And the same is true of our shadows on the lives of others. They fall noiselessly and like many other great marvels are cast silently.
Nature is silent. The sun rises in the morning with all of its radiance and beauty in the East—silently. The sun descends in the West—silently. The seasons come and the seasons go quietly. We are blessed with the wonders of the springtime when we observe the crocuses, the daffodils, and the dogwoods. With Wordsworth, we can say, “Then my heart with rapture fills and dances with the daffodils.” Yet the springtime comes silently, and in the fall of the year the leaves turn colors and fall to the ground—silently. As David wrote in Psalm 19:3, “They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.”
When Peter walked down the street doing good, he may not have known that his shadow was falling silently behind . Our greatest work and most effective ministries are often done silently. Our shadows are forever with us, as are the shadows of others on us.
Our shadows are dependent upon our relationship with Jesus Christ who is the light of the world. We know that if we walk toward the sun, our shadows fall behind us. If we walk toward Jesus who is the light of the world, then inevitably his shadow falls behind us.
Don’t forget that your shadow is falling on the lives of people you come in contact with; even though we don’t hear them, our shadows of influence have great impact.