Unconscious unpurposed influences

(J.R. Miller, "Help for the Day")

It is not what a man does or says purposely and with direct intention, which leaves the deepest mark in the world and in other lives — but it is the unconscious unpurposed influences which go out from him like the fragrances from a garden. Character is not necessarily what the man does — but what the man is!

There are great multitudes of humble Christian lives lived on the earth, which have no name among men, whose work no pen records and no marble immortalizes — but which are well known and unspeakably dear to God; and whose influence will be seen, in the end, to reach to farthest shores. They make no noise in the world — but it does not need noise to make a life beautiful and noble. Many of God's most potent ministries are noiseless.

How silently all day long the sunbeams fall upon the fields and gardens — and yet what cheer, what inspiration, what life and beauty they diffuse!

How silently the flowers bloom — and yet what rich blessings of beauty and fragrance do they emit!

How silently the stars move on in their majestic marches around God's throne — and yet the telescope shows us that they are mighty worlds representing utterly incalculable power!

The silent personal influence of a holy Christian has a healing, life-giving effect wherever it falls. Such a man goes about his daily duty as other men do; but, while he is engaged in common things, he is continually dropping seeds of blessing, which spring up behind him in heavenly beauty and fragrance!

In all true living, while men execute their greater plans — they are ever unintentionally performing a series of unconscious acts which often yield most beneficent and far-reaching results. There is a wayside ministry, for instance, made up of countless little courtesies, gentle words, mere passing touches on the lives of those we meet casually, impulses given by our salutations, influences flowing indirectly from the things we do and the words we speak — a ministry undesigned, unplanned, unnoted, merely incidental — and yet it is impossible to measure the wondrous results of these unconscious acts of usefulness.