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  • Wayne Chasney

We Pass This Way but Once

I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. (French American Quaker Stephen Grellet)


              I focused on this quote from Grellet in my reflection for Nancy’s funeral yesterday. It was one of her favorite quotes and she introduced me to it. I like it so much that I want to offer it to you.

              Stephen Grellet was born in France in 1773 to a wealthy family. When the French Revolution broke out, he and his family had to flee France. Though Grellet was captured and sentenced to death, he managed to escape and made his way to Philadelphia. There, he was influenced by the Quakers.

              Grellet lived out his commitment to not neglect or defer doing goodness and showing kindness. When a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Philadelphia in 1798, Grellet ministered to the sick and dying, eventually becoming ill himself. He went on to support abolition and prison reform around the world. He worked to make his only pass through this world count in the most self-giving of ways.

              It can be easy to get distracted in our world today. Our full lives and packed schedules can cause us to overlook opportunities for doing good and showing kindness to others. However, the example of Jesus himself shows us the importance of being present and paying attention to the needs of those around us.

              The prophet Micah asked, “What does the LORD require of you?” The answer is, “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God,” as you pass this way but once.

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