Out for a casual stroll, Karen thought her eyes were deceiving her. But as the man got closer, it became clear that he really was roller-skating with a huge owl perched on his shoulder. The bird, clinging to a leather patch on the man’s shoulder, had his wings outstretched, feathers rippling in the breeze created by the skating.
As the odd pair got closer, Karen noticed that the owl was missing part of one wing. When the skater stopped to rest, he explained, "Twice a day we go out so he can pretend he's flying."
Impressed with the skater’s kindness, Karen replied, "I'm sure he would repay you if he could."
"He already has," the man answered. "I used to weigh 25 pounds more and I smoked." With that, man and bird took off again.
What an excellent example of an important Biblical principle for successful living: “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
The best way to be refreshed is by helping someone else. The way to be blessed is to first be a blessing to others. When we do that, we’ll be refreshed in two ways.
First, we will be refreshed by feeling good about having done something good. It’s hard to do good without feeling good.
When you offer encouraging words that make someone else feel better, you’ll also notice that it makes you feel better. When you share a funny story that makes your colleagues laugh today, you’ll find that you will probably laugh, too, even though you’ve already heard the story. It is refreshing to refresh others.
The second way you’ll be refreshed when you refresh others involves another basic Biblical principle of life: “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). How we treat others determines, to a great degree, how we will be treated.
Relationships are reciprocal. We tend to receive back what we give. If we smile, others smile back. If we scowl, others scowl in return. If we are kind and loving, most people respond to us that same way. So when we give to others what refreshes them, they normally return what refreshes us.
Broken-winged humans surround us. You may not be able to heal them, but you can find a way to help one of them to feel just a bit of wind in his wings. Try it; see if you don’t both find it refreshing.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.