Friday, September 26, 2008
I've Come to Help
You may remember the old Flip Wilson routine when someone asked Flip about his religion. He answered, "I am a Jehovah's Bystander."
"A Jehovah's Bystander?" remarked his friend. "I never heard of a Jehovah's Bystander."
Flip said, "Well, they asked me to be a witness, but I didn't want to get involved."
In these troubled times, I think Edmund Burke is right. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil," he says, "is for good men to do nothing."
We can complain about injustices, we can lament the suffering of the world and even feel sorry for the helpless plight of others. Or we can do what we can, even if it's only a little.
Theodore Roosevelt read a book by New York newspaperman Jacob Riis titled How the Other Half Lives. We often think of the "other half" as living in luxury. The other half are those who are powdered and pampered. The rich and famous. Movers and shakers.
But the book did not describe the wealthiest few of society. Instead it described the slums of the city, with all its vice and crime. Families living in poverty and fear – too afraid to leave their homes after dark. The other half, said Riis, are the poor among us.
Theodore Roosevelt was moved to action. He went at once to the newspaper office where the author worked, but Riis was not in. Roosevelt left his card and wrote on it, "Have read your book and have come to help."
He did not say, "Have read your book and have come to discuss." Or, "Have read your book and have come to compliment you on your writing." He said, "Have read your book and have come to help."
"I am only one, but I am still one; I cannot do everything, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Nineteenth century writer Edward Everett Hale said that.
He speaks to me today.
-- Steve Goodier
Image: freeimages.com/Michael & Christa Richert