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What Kind of Shadow Are You Casting? – By Dr. Glenn Cummings

How would you do if I asked you to answer the following?
Part 1
* Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
* Name the last five Heisman Trophy winners.
* Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
* Name ten people who have won a Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
* Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
* Name the last decade’s World Series winners.
Part 2
* List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
* Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
* Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
* Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
* Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
* Name three heroes whose stories have inspired you.
The second part of the quiz is much easier and that is the point. The people who make a difference in your life are not necessarily the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. The people who touch our lives are the ones who matter. I am reminded of the words of an anonymous writer, “We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” It has been said that some people never die because they live in and through us by the way they have touched our lives. They live on through who and what we are.
I have always been inspired by the stanza from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “A Psalm of Life” that says:
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time. Not many of us would fall into the category of being “great men” but we can leave behind us “footprints on the sands of time,” or to put it another way, we can cast our shadow over the people we come into contact with during our life.
Acts 5 gives us an exciting account of the miracles that were being performed by the apostles. In verse 12 we read, “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.” We read in verse 16 that a “multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone.” People were coming from everywhere with all kinds of needs to find healing. In verse 15 we read of the sick being brought and placed on cots and pallets “that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.” The text does not specifically say that Peter’s shadow brought healing, but it would seem to imply that was the case. If so, Peter cast a miracle working shadow. People were affected and touched by his shadow. The shadow he cast was life changing.
How about the shadow each of us cast? Do we cast a shadow that affects and impacts the lives of those we come in contact with? Each of us cast a shadow. We all have different roles in life and in those roles, we cast a shadow. For example, as parents we cast a shadow when it comes to our children. Abraham Lincoln said, “All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.” The shadow that his mother cast was one that Lincoln confessed impacted his life in a great way.
I think about the poem by an unknown author entitled “Walk A Little Slower Daddy”:
“Walk a little slower, Daddy.”
Said a little child so small.
“I’m following in your footsteps,
And I don’t want to fall.
Sometimes your steps are very fast.
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.
Someday when I’m all grown up.
You’re what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child,
Who’ll want to follow me.
And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower,
Daddy, For I must follow you.”
Many of you are in the educational field. As Teachers you are casting shadows. I have always been appreciative of those in the educational profession. What a great opportunity to cast one’s shadow. Henry B. Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.” The truth of the matter is that we all cast shadows. Henry Ward Beecher said, “The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others.” The shadow we cast affects people for either good or bad. What kind of shadow are you casting? Is it one that lifts people or lowers people?
You never know when you are touching the lives of others and impacting them in an eternal way. A handshake, a passing word, an act of kindness can touch people when you are not even aware that you are touching them.
One of my favorite biographers is Richard Ellsworth Day. One biography he wrote is of the life of Charles Spurgeon which he titled, “The Shadow of the Broad Brim.” The title came from a statement that Spurgeon had made. Spurgeon’s grandfather was a preacher and pastor. He pastored a small church in the country but had a faithful and powerful ministry. He wore a broad brim hat and Spurgeon once said that when he preached oftentimes he could almost see the shadow of his grandfather’s broad brim hat as it fell across him.
Upon all of us there falls the shadow of someone who touched our life. They helped shape who and what we are. The question is what kind of shadow are we casting?