Scripture: 2 Samuel 9:1-13; Proverbs 15:1-5, 25:11-15; Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:35, 38; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12-14.
Did you know that you could wake up to good news every morning? That’s right. Every morning you can turn on your computer, go to MSN’s “Wake Up to Good News”1 and hear or read a stories that don’t include natural disasters, terrorism, murder or spousal cheating. Sounds like a great way to start your day doesn’t it?
Although these stories don’t make national news, they are important because they speak of the goodness in people’s hearts. Here are a few examples of stories you’ll find on the site:
The owners of Miller Farms in Platteville, Colorado are sharing what they could be selling. For two years in a row they have invited anyone who needed food to roam their vegetable fields for one day. Owner Chris Miller says that, “We asked the people to come out who were really in need of the food.” Last year an amazing number--40,000—showed up for the allotted day of free garden-fresh produce. People like Steve Rivera were more than grateful. “The last year has been hard,” he admitted. “The last couple of years actually have been real bad. I’ve been laid off several times from different jobs.” Rivera brought his whole family out to dig carrots and potatoes—but not only for themselves. “I will probably help six families that I know,” he said.
Fourth graders at New Castle elementary School in Kentucky are in their second year of taking part in an adopt-a-grandparent program. Students visit patients at the Homestead Nursing Center once a month, bringing gifts and helping the elderly with small tasks. Teacher Tara McMahan had a goal in mind when she developed this program. “As a teacher, my goal for the students this year is to learn that giving to others feels far better than receiving.” Students and the elderly find themselves building a bond as they talk, walk, color or do chores together. Some students got so involved last year that they shed tears on the last day of school. Resident Ruth Ellegood said, “I don’t care if there’s one or a dozen. They’re all my adopted grandchildren. They could all come and just stay the night.”
When Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely flew the disabled plane he was piloting onto the Hudson River, his heroism didn’t stop there. After saving all 150 passengers on board, he went on to auction his pilot’s hat on eBay. The winner would receive not only the hat, but also a personal letter from Sully and his wife. He could have easily pocketed the money, but instead, he gave the $5,800 to two California schools. Speaking of the gift, his wife Lorrie said, “Sully and I were excited by the opportunity to help these two public schools. We hope that the winner will enjoy owning Sully’s pilot’s hat, but also that they will be happy that have helped fund two deserving educational institutions.”
A South Carolina assisted-living home has a new program aimed at making dreams come true for its residents. When Betty Usher was told that she could have her dream come true through White Oak Manor’s Dreams Do Come True program, she knew exactly what she’d dreamed of—a hot air balloon ride. And Ray Smith, owner of Airplay Balloons helped her wish come true. Residents and staff members came to a nearby field on that beautiful sunny day and cheered as the balloon took off with Betty inside. Nurse Terri Bennett has seen several other resident’s dreams come true. “They should have an opportunity to see their dreams come true. It’s all about them.”
Why do we like to hear and read these types of heartwarming news stories? Because we know what it feels like to both give and receive kindness.
This week’s memory text tells us why it’s so important that we as Christians show kindness. It says that we are the elect of God, holy and beloved. In other words, we have been chosen—chosen to demonstrate Jesus’ kindness in this world.
It’s fairly easy to do a “feel good” kindness for someone. But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to an even higher form of kindness. He asks us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. That’s not always easy, and that doesn’t always feel good. But as He so rightly said, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
We Christians are called to something greater. We are called to live out our own news stories of kindness every day. Even among those hard to love. Especially among those hard to love.