Don’t Let Your Paintbrush Get Dry

by Barry Myers
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? (Matthew 5:43-48)
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Those words, “don’t let your paintbrush get dry!” were spoken to me in anger years ago, by someone that I did not like. I was in my mid-20s and an infant Christian. I was unmarried and had purchased my first home. To help with household bills, I invited a friend of mine, Ed, to move in. Shortly afterward, Ed began dating Sue (not their real names). At first she was pleasant, but it soon became apparent that these two as a couple were like mixing fire with gasoline; it was a very volatile relationship.
As time passed, the fights began to take place on the property or in the house when I wasn’t present. The evidence of damage made it clear. Even after Sue took a baseball bat to the fenders of Ed’s VW bug, they continued the relationship.
One day Sue showed up on a Saturday when Ed was not home; I was outside painting. I said very few words to her, remaining focused on my work. She wanted to talk and I made it obvious that I did not. As she quickly turned on her heels to leave she said angrily, “Well, don’t let your paintbrush get dry!”
God burned those words into my memory to teach me a necessary lesson. Had I offered a sympathetic ear and put her needs above my own concerns, perhaps God could have changed the course for her that day. It was a missed opportunity to be Christ for someone that was hurting.
Every day I now pray that I will be a light to those people I meet. I pray that the way I speak and act will ultimately be a reflection of God’s compassionate love.

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