Dolly Parton is a Hollywood star; a self-made artist that is known all over the world for her great songs, outstanding make-ups and plastic surgeries. Yet, behind these seemingly artificial decorations of her person, lies a beautiful, faith-filled soul that deeply cares for every child of God. At her commencement speech to the 2009 graduating students of the University of Tennessee, she gave them just four maxims to live by: Dream more, Learn more, Care more, and Be more. The four maxims were the foundation of her life, and they all derived from the God experience she had from her mother early in her childhood. She developed these four maxims in her little and easy-to-read book: Dream More. A fascinating story of a deeply caring person who mirrors the lavishly caring heart of God! Many times she refused the invitation to be a judge at those shows where artists dance, sing or even act, simply because she believed that each person is special before God and should never be compared to somebody else. She fascinates me a lot. In her I see what good we each could do just by knowing how deeply God cares for us and from this awareness, pour out our lives in caring for others. We become morethe more we care for others. In 1996 Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library, a nonprofit organization that would mail age-appropriate books to children of her home county in East Tennessee. All she wanted was children to be excited about books, and she would make sure that every child in every home would get books irrespective of the family’s income. As of today, the Imagination Library initiative has spread to other States in the Union, Canada and United Kingdom. Genuine care is contagious and makes life spring up wherever it touches. Dolly reminds me of the saying: Never judge a book by its cover!
Has it really ever struck you that the deepest truth of Christian religion is about care? Care is about nurturing life and working against whatever diminishes life or makes others’ life miserable. Care is taking the time and pains to make the life of others better. What does God say to humanity, to you and me, in sending His only Son Jesus? I CARE FOR YOU! Through the love of Jesus in our hearts, we learn to care more for ourselves and for others. What a better way to prepare for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas!
When the crowds asked John the Baptist what they should do, he simply said: “whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise”. Tax collectors asked what they should do and he told them: “stop collecting more than what is prescribed”. Soldiers also asked him what to do, and he told them: “do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages” (Luke 3:10-13). It is all centered on caring for others. But you cannot care freely for others unless you are somehow contented with yourself, and you cannot be contented with yourself unless you believe in the goodness of God towards you. It is this belief in God’s goodness towards you that makes you humble with whatever you may have accomplished. Dolly Parton, as artificial as she may sometimes appear to be knows this deep down in her heart, when she once said: “I have a place of worship in each of my homes. Even in my apartment, I have a little pray-do where I can kneel. I pray as I walk around, but it’s a way to remind you that it ain’t gonna hurt you to get on your knees and humble yourself before God”. To be able to care genuinely, you need that deep connection to the CARE HIMSELF, who is God, and trust in His Enduring Care.
Do not forget: care more and you will become more. Let this season of Advent be an opportunity for you to care more so that you can become profoundly moreas God has destined you to be.