Back in the 1800s, a woman went to her doctor with a list of complaints about her health.  The doctor examined her thoroughly and became convinced that there was nothing physically wrong with her.  He suspected her negative outlook on life – her bitterness and resentment – was the key to her feeling the way she did.

The wise physician took the woman into a back room in his office where he kept his supply of medicines.  He showed her a shelf filled with empty bottles.  He said to her:  “See those bottles?  Notice they are empty.

They are shaped differently from one another, but basically they are all alike – they are empty bottles.

Now I can take one of those bottles and fill it with poison – enough poison to kill someone.  OR I can fill it with enough medicine  to bring down a fever, or ease a throbbing headache, or fight bacteria in one or another parts of the body.  The important thing is that I MAKE THE CHOICE.  I can fill it with whatever I choose.”

The doctor looked her in the eye and said, “Each day that we are given is basically like one of those empty bottles.  We can choose to fill it with love and life-affirming thoughts and attitudes —

Or we can fill it with destructive, poisonous thoughts.  The choice is ours.

We make choices every day –which builds our life one day at a time – as well as effecting the lives of those around us.

Every day, we make choices that either builds up those around us – or tears them down.  Every day we chose to either a millstone   – that pulls people under – or we chose to be a stepping stone – that helps them out.

I am a millstone, pulling you under – if I am unkind or unjust in the way I treat you.  If I make you feel small or damage your self-confidence.

I am a millstone to you if I fail to understand your weaknesses, mistakes, sins –and simply write you off because of them.  When I condemn you – I make you feel unloved and alone.

I chose to pull you under, when I humiliate you because you don’t live up to my expectations.

Or —  if I do my best to keep you down, or hold you back.  When I grab the limelight and force you to retreat to the shadows and make you feel inferior.

I am a millstone, pulling you under, when I chose to heap unjust criticism on you and sour you with my own cynicism – when I tear down your ideals or destroy your dreams.

I am a millstone when I make the choice to pay someone poor wages.  When I turn you into a slave so that I can live like a lord – when I impoverish you so I can enrich myself.

If I do any of these things to you I am darkness to you.  I am an obstacle to your path.  I am a scandal, a stumbling block to your road to self-development, and I make it difficult for you to reach the kingdom of heaven.

We make choices every day – that either builds up those around us — or tears them down.  We are either millstones  – or stepping stones.

I am a stepping stone to you when I support you in moments of weakness and doubt.

I chose to be a stepping stone to you when I give you a belief in yourself, when I boost your self-confidence.

I am a stepping stone when you are feeling inadequate – and I help you to discover the special talents God has given to you — OR  — when I make demands on you – and challenging you – not to hurt you – but to help you grow and to develop your potential.

I choose to be a stepping stone to you when I accept you, though others reject you — when I refuse to join the crowd and throw words of accusation and judgement at you when you sin.

I am a stepping stone when I forgive you.  When I liberate you from your past and you finally feel free to move forward again.

I choose to be a stepping stone when I understand you and listen to you – and when I employ you and give you a just wage.

Whenever I do any one of these things for you – I am a light in your darkness.  I am a signpost to you in moments of doubt.  I make it easier for you to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said “anyone who gives someone a cup of water to drink because they belong to Christ – will surely not lose their reward. . .”

We make choices every day – that either builds up those around us – or tears them down.  We are either millstones – that pull people under – or stepping stones – that help them out.

What kind of choices are you making?