Last week, quietly, an enormous but diminutive man walked into the sunset of retirement. Desmond Tutu who has been so important in our world for so long retired on his 79th birthday on October 7. I was reading the Time Magazine article about his life and retirement (click here to view), and was taken by these words of his that are quoted, “God is biased, horribly in favour of the weak. The minute an injustice is perpetrated, God is going to be on the side of the one who is being clobbered.” How important that must have been to those in South Africa and those around the world who suffer at the hands of injustice. It is perfectly good keeping with what St. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians;
“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.”
Time rightly points out that “a world without Tutu will be a bit darker, a little more dull.” This man has been a spiritual leader to whom so many look for guidance and strength. More than that, the world counted on Tutu to speak out when people suffer injustice. His words, his humour, and his infectious smile are all a gift to the world.
Perhaps there is a chance that he may sneak out of retirement from time to time. There will no doubt be moments that we need a word from one who is so willing to speak his convictions and whose words call the world to action.
Archbishop Tutu once said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” In a lifetime of working for justice the little bishop with the large heart has proven that these words are indeed true. His life-long Christian witness has been a witness to the fact that the many good acts of one person can indeed overwhelm the world.
We all have the capacity to make a difference in the world. Desmond Tutu has overwhelmed the world having come from the most unlikely of circumstances and having overcome the greatest odds. How much may we change the world with ‘our little bits of good?’