A Life-Affirming Brief Encounter

On Archbishop Desmond Tutu

News of Archbishop Tutu’s passing leaves me feeling sad. Archbishop Tutu was a guest professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology when I attended seminary. He was somewhat diminutive in stature, but only physically, because he was a true giant in faith. He spoke so forcefully about forgiveness and kindness to others and how it is essential for living out the Christian walk. And it wasn’t just talk, because he lived his life walking that talk. I recall one moment when I stood outside a lecture hall at Candler waiting on a class. He walked right up to me and talked as though we were old friends. He took an interest in me, my life, and my call to ministry. I know he did the same for many students during his time at Emory. That was more than twenty-years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I saw the quote below and it immediately took me back to that day, because Tutu embodied the idea of doing a little bit of good wherever he was so they would pile up to overwhelm the world. Proverbs 21:21 says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor” (ESV). There are so many opportunities to do just the opposite, but the world changes when we choose God’s way. I know I am different because of that personal encounter with Archbishop Tutu. I hope that there might be someone who can say the same about an encounter with me. Regardless, I feel a renewed sense of commitment to close out 2021 and launching into 2022 with that as a focus.

How about you? Let’s pursue righteousness and kindness and see how God uses that to touch some unsuspecting person in a way he or she will never forget. If you do, the promise of God is you will find life and honor due to your commitment to right living. I certainly pray that’s the case now and forever.

Photo Credit: PassItOn.com & the Foundation for a Better Life