Philippians 4:8 (New International Version)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Do you remember the story of the sailor who over-imbibed and fell asleep at his table in the bar? His buddies smeared a bit of strong-smelling cheese dip on his moustache, which caused him to wake up and look around. He sniffed and then walked outside, sniffed again and came back in, walked out and back in one more time and finally sat back down in his seat. "It's no use," he said to his friend, "the whole world stinks!"
Ever felt that way? We have all experienced bad days and horrible situations. We've felt trapped, helpless and, at times, hopeless. We may have even believed that the whole world stinks.
But I like the tremendous way one woman has learned to approach living. She grew up in extreme poverty, but was privileged to be in a Sunday School class taught by a young woman named Alice Freeman Palmer, who was later to become president of Wellesley College. One Sunday, the teacher asked the children to find something beautiful in their homes, and then tell the other children about it the next Sunday.
The following Sunday, when the little girl was asked what she found that was beautiful at home, she thought of her impoverished condition and replied, "Nothing. There's nothing beautiful where I live, except . . . except the sunshine on our baby's curls."
Years later, long after Mrs. Palmer's untimely death, her husband was lecturing at a university in the western United States. He was approached by a distinguished looking woman who fondly recalled that she had been a member of his wife's Sunday School class. "I can remember that your wife once asked us to find something beautiful in our homes, and that I came back saying the only beautiful thing I could find was the sunshine on my sister's curls. But that assignment your wife made was the turning point in my life. I began to look for something beautiful wherever I was, and I've been doing it ever since." That one suggestion turned her life around.
If you have been thinking your "whole world stinks," the daily habit of looking for something beautiful can help you see the good there is in the world, and transform your hope into the positive energy needed to build a life that counts.
Dear Lord we pray that we would look for the positive things in life. Help us not to dwell on the negative. In Jesus’ name, Amen.