Imagine If We Were Kind To Each Other

             First of all, I’d like to welcome everyone here today and thank you for coming and sharing part of your weekend with us.  Congratulations to all those here for the 100th Anniversary of our local chapter of the Pan-Cretan Association.  As always, anniversaries give us the opportunity to look backward at our accomplishments and forward to the work ahead.  There is a lot of work ahead for those of us who believe strongly in the message of Christ and His Church.

                 This past week, we saw another school shooting (this time, in Texas, by a Greek young man) and we saw more violence in the Middle East.  It may seem obvious but young people are trying to not only kill others but to hurt everyone around them as much as they can.  They’re empty, they’re hurt, and for them, life has no value.  I wonder what our world would be like if each of us would find somebody to be good to every day.  What would our city be like?  What would our offices be like?  What would our schools be like if we made it a priority to brighten somebody else’s day?  St. Paul wrote “Every opportunity we have, we should do good to people” (see Galatians 6:10).  That means we need to be on the lookout. We need to be proactive. We need to have the mindset of, “Who can I bless today?” “For whom can I do a favor?” You can’t just sit back and wait for the need to come to you. You have to go after it.

St. Paul wrote to Timothy saying that in the last days, the love of the great body of people will grow cold (see 2 Timothy 3:1–8). That simply means that people will be so busy, they’ll be so focused on their own needs, they’ll be so caught up in their drive for success that they won’t take time to make a difference.  Sometimes it’s easy for us to get so caught up in our own little world that we’re focused only on ourselves. “I’ve got my plans. Don’t get me off my schedule.” “I’d love to help you out with some work around your house, but I’m sorry, this is baseball season. I just don’t have the time.”

But we weren’t created to live selfishly. We were created to make a difference in the lives of others. John Bunyan, author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone that cannot pay you back.”  All around us are hurting people who need our love and encouragement.  Don’t miss the miracle of the moment. Don’t be too busy, or insensitive to the needs of those around you. Be willing to be inconvenienced. Be sensitive and pay attention to those around you, your friends, your coworkers and your relatives. Listen to what they’re saying. We shouldn’t miss opportunities to do good whenever situations come across our paths to bless people.

Jesus said. “When you do it to the least of one of these, it’s like you’re doing it to Me,” (see Matthew 25:40). Proverbs 19:17 says, “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” When you give to those in need, you are lending to God. And God knows how to pay you back — with interest! You may not be able to give money, but you can baby sit that young mother’s children. Why don’t you give her a break one night? Tell her, “You go do something special for yourself. Here’s a gift certificate. You go up to the mall. You go get your nails done. Our family is going to keep your children tonight.”

If you see one of your friends wearing the same clothes all the time, why don’t you step up to the plate and say “Let me buy you a new suit or two.” Or, “Take this gift certificate and go get yourself some new clothes.”  That doesn’t take a lot of money in the grand scheme of things.  It just takes time and love. That just takes somebody that cares, somebody that’s willing to make a difference.

I heard a story about a young boy that lived in the inner city. He was about eight years old and was very poor. One cold day, he was looking in the window of a local store admiring a pair of sneakers. As he stood there, cold and barefoot, a lady came along and asked, “Young man, what are you doing staring so intently in this window?”  He said, “Well, I was just sort of praying and asking God if He’d give me a new pair of sneakers.”

Without hesitation, the lady took him into the store and very gently and lovingly washed his dirty face, wiped his nose, and then washed off his cold, dirty feet. She put a brand new pair of socks on his feet. Then she told him to pick out two new pairs of sneakers.  The boy couldn’t believe it. He had never owned a new pair of shoes. He’d always just worn old hand-me-downs from family members. After she had paid for the purchase, the woman handed the shoes to the child and said, “Enjoy your shoes, son.”

The little boy looked at her in amazement. Nobody had ever taken that kind of interest in him.  As serious as could be, with tears running down his cheeks, he said, “Lady, can I ask you a question? Are you God’s wife?”  You are never more like God than when you give freely. You’re never more like God than when you take time for people, than when you do something to bless someone else.

The Scripture says people will know true Christians by their fruit (see Matthew 7:15–23).  The question you ask yourself is this:  What kind of fruit are you producing?  They’re not going to know us by how many scriptures we quote or by only caring for ourselves. People are going to really know that we’re believers when we’re helping other people in God’s name, meeting needs, doing good works, when we are blessing people with our words and our actions.  So, let’s do that in God’s name.

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