I have always been keenly aware from childhood of the gift of each day and the new and renewed hope and opportunity that comes with each.
I repeatedly refer to an article I read many years ago in Reader’s Digest that began: “There is very little difference in people; but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it’s positive or negative.”
These attitudes, once initially influenced by parents, teachers and religious leaders, are being replaced in today’s modern society by unrestricted and unmonitored television programs, videos, in-car stereos and any number of other unbridled freedoms. This has replaced former attitudes of gratitude with those of disrespect, distrust and discontent, laced with a multitude of subsequent behavioral patterns.
“First and foremost among the favors which the Almighty hath conferred upon man, is the gift of understanding,” we read in the Baha’i Holy Writings. “His purpose in conferring such a gift is none other except to enable His creatures to know and recognize the One true God…This gift giveth man the power to discern the truth in all things, leadeth him to that which is right and helpeth him to discover the secrets of creation.”
We also find in the Holy Bible: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all they getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)
A critical initial understanding is that of purpose. When the true purpose of anything is unknown or misunderstood, that thing will most likely be misused and in all probability abused–our lives no exception. The saddest thing in human existence is to live and die with no remote understanding of the purpose of either.
Of all the realities in the world of existence, God has chosen man alone to be endowed with the supreme gifts of understanding, intellect and wisdom, according to different capacities–and subjected to the dangerous weapon of individual volition.
In this new era of ever increasing religious movements, true spirituality appears to be dying out in every land. One of the most striking evidences of this truth is the abdication of responsibility for one’s own life and actions on the part of an ever-increasing number of people and political administrations. The inevitable consequence is a yielding to the pressures of the old world order and conformity to behavioral patterns which hasten its downfall.
Religion dies out when man forgets God’s purpose for him. Without a sense of that purpose, there can be no vision of spiritual destiny, no motivation to live in the present in ways that affect spiritual life in the future and no reason to resist the corrupting temptations of a collapsing civilization.
Bans and censorship of certain media, video, Nintendo, internet or other regulatory measures can never be as effective as inner controls instilled early in one’s childhood, especially through the dynamic force of example.
Another catchey jingle I recall is: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
Simply put: Each day of our lives is a gift from God. What we make of each is our gift to God. Just what gifts do we daily `Return to Sender?’ ~(Investigate! – 1-800-22unite)