Actions Sometimes Speak Plainer Than Words—The Important Part Which Our Hands Play.
THE LESSON—That we should watch carefully "the work of our hands."
This chatty little talk about the hand may be given added force if the speaker will, by the use of his own hands, illustrate the characteristics and emotions as they are mentioned.
"Today, we shall talk a little about our hands—these most useful 'tools' that are fastened to the outer ends of our arms.
"Helen Keller, who has been deaf and blind ever since she was a little child, tells us that her hands are a splendid substitute for eyes and ears, and that their sensitive touch has revealed to her the beauties and wonders of the world. In other words, she has seen the world with her hands!
"Did you ever see a palmist read a hand? It is a very interesting thing, although most of us haven't a great deal of confidence in the revelations which the palmist finds there in the lines and the high places and the low places. [Draw the hand and put in the lettering of Fig. 122.] We laugh at the mistakes which the palmist makes, even though we think seriously of the true things she speaks.
"But we don't need to go to the palmist to find out what is really in our hands—to find out the real story they have to tell. Look at your own hands a moment Let us see what we find there.
"Are your hands the kind that clasp other hands in warm friendship? Are they hands which are busy every day doing good, honest work? Are they hands that take food and clothing to the poor? Are they hands that stroke the fevered brow? Are they hands that help to lighten the burdens of other people? Are they hands that lift up the fallen one and point him to Him who said, 'Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden?' Are they hands that help wherever and whenever they can? Think about it! Are they?
"Or, are they hands that clench in anger? Are they hands that crush heartlessly? Are they hands that drag downward? Are they hands that pull backward? Are they hands that strike in cruelty? Are they hands that slap insultingly? Are they hands that tear pitilessly? Are they hands that grope into the dark places and do more harm than good? Think about it! Are they?
"Or, are they hands that drop lazily? Are they hands that lie idly and fold indolently? Think about it! Are they?
"In God's word, we find the hand mentioned more than a hundred times. It appears constantly as an index of character. So, you see, there is more than one way to determine character than by the 'reading' of the hand. Of the industrious, busy hand, Solomon says, 'The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute.' And again of the lazy hand, he says, 'How long wilt thou sleep? When wilt thou rise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.' What a picture of laziness!
"But in no other place in the Bible do we find such striking references to the hand as in the words of the Psalmist. [Insert the letter "S" in Palmist, changing it to Psalmist.] Here is what the Psalmist says: 'He that hath clean hands and a pure heart shall receive the blessing of the Lord. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it." [Add the words, "The Work of Our Hands, Establish Thou It."]
"This is a splendid prayer for all of us. To our visitors today, we extend a warm hand, because you are as welcome as the flowers in May. Ours is the 'right hand of fellowship,' as Paul calls it. Here we have a plenty of work for many more hands to do—willing hands, busy hands, loving hands. If yours are not busy doing a work of uplift and helpfulness somewhere else, remember that we shall be glad to enlist them in service here. The lines of E. A. Houseman, in his poem, 'A Shropshire Lad' show most beautifully the thought which we should give the work of our hands as the days bring new problems and opportunities:
"'Hand,' said I, 'since now we part
From fields and men we know by heart,
For strangers' faces, strangers' lands,
Hand, you have held true fellows' hands;
Be clean, then!—rot, before you do
A thing they'd not believe of you!'"
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