In the vast lexicon of movies about pookas, in this case a 6-foot rabbit, Harvey stands alone. Everyone is concerned about Elwood P. Dowd, who has an invisible best friend named Harvey. They insist that he see a doctor.
Doctor: “Good heavens, man. Haven’t you any righteous indignation?”
Dowd, played by Jimmy Stewart: “Oh, doctor, years ago my mother used to say; ‘Elwood, in this world you must either be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ I used to be smart. I much recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”
Perhaps more well-known, to Christians, is a discourse from the beginning of John 1. “In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to that light” ( 4–8).
Matthew 5:14–16 states, “A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. … In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We have a call to be light — bright light — to those around us. While Jesus, the Light of the World, shines through us, it might be good for us to consider the bowls that we put over our light. Allow me to make some suggestions.
- Time. We live in a society that honors a full schedule. The busier we appear the better we are judged. We are encouraged to appear busy so that others will think we are important.
- The need to be right. We assume that our righteousness begins with being intellectually correct. That automatically makes someone else wrong. My need to be proven right is about me, not about presenting the love of God.
- I must be heard to prove my rightness about God. Let’s be honest, we talk too much. This is true in our relationship to God and to others. When our mouths are open, our ears are closed.
Is it possible to show love better through slowing down, through sacrificing self-importance, through being quiet and listening? Yes. Deep love happens within lasting relationship. It is a love that is constant, insistent, available, generous. But are we willing to sit down (time), button up (our self-importance), and listen up (to people’s hearts and souls)? If, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we are able to do these things, others will begin to feel the love of the invisible God. The greatest commodity that is available today is your time. Spending your commodity communicates a person’s value to you. Allowing healthy discourse allows others to know that their opinion matters too. Creating space by listening indicates that we believe in God’s sovereignty. If you ask me, that is a pretty strong statement about love.
Would you rather be right or bright? Let us reflect the Light of the World into the darkness that envelops.
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
Paul Drewer is a Free Methodist elder who serves at Eastmont Community Church in East Wenatchee, Washington. He is an alumnus of Greenville University and Fuller Theological Seminary.