In an article in Christianity Today (October 2019), Gerald Sittser wrote about the early church and the Christians who embraced a new story. “The story of Jesus opened their eyes to see history not as a narrative of the empire’s achievements—and atrocities—but as a narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world, which often occurs in quiet and mysterious ways. For them, Bethlehem and Golgotha occupied center stage, not the Roman court.”
I encourage to pause today and reflect on the babe of Bethlehem who died with His innocence intact on the cross at Golgotha. His life was a message of redemption, and His death was the sacrifice that redeemed us.
Among the last few words that He spoke, His concern was for those who persecuted Him, and “Forgive them. . .” was a last request.
Make it your mission today to give life to His dying words and “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).”
I’ve never heard the Apostle Paul described as a Master Gardener, but he was an authority on sowing and reaping, and He spoke about it in the 6th chapter of Galatians.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.“
These verses may have been the words that inspired St. Basil to say: “He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
The importance of sowing seeds of kindness is found in a comment made by Leo Buscaglia: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
I encourage you to make a difference in the life of someone today by giving them the gift of kindness. It doesn’t take much effort to open a door, to share a smile, to speak an encouraging word, or to say a prayer.
Like Mother Teresa said: “Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”
Kindness is a form of communication that is not limited by ethnic or social barriers. It is a language that even the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
What is it that you first think of when you hear the word Velcro? Is it the stick-to-itiveness quality of this 1941 George de Mestral invention?
Mestral was perturbed by the nasty burrs that had lodged themselves into his wool pants after a day of hunting in the woods. After examining the burrs through a magnifying glass, Mestral was fascinated by what he saw. He discovered that each burr had thousands of tiny little hooks that had latched onto the wool fabric of his pants.
He was so impressed by this pest from nature that he developed a process to mimic the tenacity of the burrs, so he invented a system of nylon hooks and loops and called his product Velcro.
Within the pages of the New Testament, we find the living breathing version of Velcro. As a Christian, Stephen was a pest that Saul could not shake. Because of Stephen’s faithful tenacity, Saul oversaw his stoning and ultimate death.
Even after Stephen was martyred, he was still a nuisance to Saul. Like Velcro, Saul could not shake the memory of Stephen’s death nor could he forget his last words –words of faith and grace.
Stephen’s death and the Damascus road experience led to the conversion of Saul. The former enemy of the Cross changed his name to Paul and became an avid evangelist for the Lord.
What is the Velcro moment that changed your life?