The great rock and roll singer, Tina Turner, died last week. On a website about her: https://www.tina-turner.nl/ she is quoted as saying: “The real power behind whatever success I have now was something I found within myself — something that’s in all of us, I think, a little piece of God just waiting to be discovered”.
In all of my preaching, my writing and, I hope, my living, I have been guided by the belief that, within each one of us is “a little piece of God.” Just as our children carry our genes, we each carry that image, the gene of God, regardless of who we are, what we have learned to say and do. We are all given the choice to develop that gene. Just as some develop their gift for music or dance, science or art, each one of us can develop our God gene which carries a desire to be loving and forgiving and accepting. Our choices in life allow that gift to grow. Regardless of what choices we make, the gene remains making us a treasure for God. At any time in our lives, we can discover that gift of God within us and nurture our growth.
I have, tucked away in my closet, a dried-out resurrection plant, a dead-looking desert native. When I bring it out, place it in a bowl and water it, within an hour it is transformed into life, green, soft and beautiful. As human beings, we are like that plant. Throughout our lives, we have many opportunities to nurture the goodness of God within us. Regardless of how long we take to choose God’s goodness, the ability never leaves us. Right up to our death, the choice is ours. The transformation is possible.
What does this mean for you and me? It means we don’t need to give up on anyone. No one is trash. Everyone has that God gene within. Too often, we struggle to believe that God gene exists in all people. Sometimes, it’s our fear, sometimes, prejudice, sometimes hurt. Sometimes how we interpret our life lessons closes our hearts to the goodness in others.
Sometimes we need help to choose to see and nurture God’s presence within ourselves and others. Prayer, talking with friends, book studies with others, workshops, bible studies, courses are all available to us. God surrounds us with help. I believe God wants us to value ourselves and all other people. Tina Turner made the discovery of God’s presence within her, and that fueled, grounded her to use her talent to bring joy for herself and the world.
In my children’s book, “Rajah Finds His Wisdom,” the little elephant, Rajah is rejected because he is different. As he grows up, he discovers he is bigger and stronger than the rest. At first, he uses these gifts to bully the others in the herd. During his long trip to Bethlehem, he learns that he can use his gifts to help and befriend others. Reinforced by his animal keeper and his companions, he discovers and releases the goodness with which he was born. He discovers the presence of God which helps him to use his differences to help others. He has found his wisdom. We too, can find our wisdom, discover the goodness of God that lives within us and nurture and release that goodness to the world.