Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Greatness without fame: is such a thing possible?

"Auntie, I think I should like to be a painter."

"Why?" returned his companion.

"Because then," answered the child, "I could help God to paint the sky."

What his aunt replied I do not know; for they were presently beyond my hearing. But I went on answering him myself all the way home. Did God care to paint the sky of an evening, that just a few of His children might see it, and get just a hope, just an aspiration, out of its passing green, and gold, and purple, and red? and should I think my day's labour lost, if it wrought no visible salvation in the earth?

But was the child's aspiration in vain?

Could I tell him that God did not want his help to paint the sky? True, he could mount no scaffold against the infinite of the glowing west. But might not he with his little palette and brush, when the time came, show his brothers and sisters what he had seen there, and make them see it too? Might not he thus come, after long trying, to help God to paint this glory of vapour and light inside the minds of His children?

"So for my part," I said to myself, as I walked home, "if I can put one touch of a rosy sunset into the life of [another], I shall feel that I have worked with God. He is in no haste; and if I do what I may in earnest, I need not mourn if I work no great work on the earth. Let God make His sunsets; I will mottle my little fading cloud. To help the growth of a thought as it struggles toward the light; to brush with a gentle hand the earth-stain from the white of one snowdrop -- such be my ambition! So shall I scale the rocks in front, not leave my name carved upon those behind me."

Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood
P. 15-16
George MacDonald

1 comment:

  1. One of the great thoughts I have often had (not that I am great - but rather, a lofty thought that comes to me), while travelling through the mountains, is that God must create beauty and majesty for the pure joy it brings himself. Who else has seen snow-domed tops of the Columbia Icefields? Who else knows what colours and shapes and beauty there is in the layers upon layers that the ice has compressed and carved there for thousands of years? Who else hears the drip, drip, drip of the water as it melts slowly and gathers with other drips into the rush we see when it finally reaches the foot of the mountain? God alone, I think, for so many parts of the earth and the universe!

    And, I suppose, like MacDonald here, we trust that the little dabbling we are able to do, whether physical, or into the hearts and minds of others we interact with will bring God joy, then it is enough.

    Thanks for posting this :)