Leave it better than you found it—that’s a Boy Scout slogan. I’ve never been a Boy Scout, but I’m sure I could benefit from making that a personal goal—to leave everything better than I found it.
I’ve examined how we can leave our jobs better than we found them, leave our relationships and environments better than we found them, and leave our churches better than we found them.
I want to tell you about my friend, Cynthia, who definitely left a situation at her work so much better than she found it. Some years ago, she worked in a department where one coworker made it very clear that she and Cynthia could never be friends because Cynthia was African-American. It’s hard to believe that someone would actually say that, but this person said those very words to Cynthia.
Thankfully, Cynthia was able to get beyond her hurt feelings and respond appropriately to this situation. She prayed about it, and got the idea to start what she called “Project Love.” She didn’t announce to her coworkers that she was starting “Project Love,” she just decided to do it. Besides being kind and considerate on a daily basis, she decided to invite each person in her department to have lunch with her as her guest. Once a week she would deliver a written lunch invitation to a coworker, including this woman who said they could never be friends.
Who can refuse such an invitation? So, the two of them went to lunch. As a result, they began to get to know each other and this woman saw how wrong her attitude had been. She realized what a good friend Cynthia could be, and before long they became friends. Now this woman openly and proudly claims Cynthia as a friend and, though they no longer work together, they still keep in touch.
Cynthia left that place and that relationship so much better than she found them. She could have responded with anger and bitterness, but she chose to respond in love. That’s the power that we have as believers because we have the Holy Spirit within us to enable us to do what otherwise we would find impossible to do.
I hope you’ll remember this simple slogan: Leave it better than you found it. It’s one sure way to show God’s love to others.