When you think about love what do you think about? Hearts, flowers, holding hands? Well today I’m not talking about romantic love, I’m talking about loving your neighbors. I’m talking about what scripture means when it says in Mark chapter 12, verses 30 and 31. Here is what those verses say:
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
Let’s talk a bit about loving your neighbors. This year at TFC we have a student who struggles with mobility. She uses a walker and it is really a chore to get around a campus as large as ours. One of our staff members put out a request through social media to locate an electric wheelchair for this student. Let me tell you what happened.
Our Stephens County Sheriff, Randy Shirley, saw the request and made some contacts on his own. He located a beautiful red electric wheelchair that had barely been used. He contacted the owner, made the donation arrangements, and picked up the chair. The Sheriff’s Office cleaned the chair, charged the batteries, and delivered it to the student here at TFC. I only wish you could have seen the student’s face when she took her first ride in that chair. Her life was just changed.
All of us at TFC want to thank our Sheriff and his staff for demonstrating to all our students what loving your neighbor looks like in action. In a world that now records law enforcement conducting their daily business and looks to criticize their every move, it’s too bad someone didn’t record this special delivery to our student in need. I do know this…our student recorded it. She recorded this in her memory and she will never ever forget the love and kindness shown by our Sheriff’s Office.
I was reading a sign the other day that had a very simple message. Here it is…”kindness matters”. What could be simpler? Yet we live in a world where many folks are self absorbed. The world revolves around them and there just isn’t time for anyone else.
I was traveling recently and noticed a couple who appeared to be in their eighties. They were enjoying dinner in a restaurant a few tables over from me. A man who had been eating at another table walked over to this older couple’s table and simply asked how long they had been married. It turned out the older couple had been married over sixty years. The older man was a veteran and told the other man of battles he had been in and how he loves America. The entire conversation took about five minutes. The younger man told the couple how much he appreciated the older man’s service to our country and the fact that he and his wife had stayed married through good times and bad and clearly loved each other.
Then the younger man did something really special. He took the bill for the older couple’s dinner and told them dinner was on him. The older couple looked shocked and I could clearly see tears start to well up in the older man’s eyes. The younger man shook their hands and was off. I never heard any of them exchange names and I’m certain they will never see each other again.
When is the last time you went out on a limb and put your Christian beliefs into practice expecting nothing in return? The book of Proverbs in chapter three tells us, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”
So follow the advice of Proverbs and that simple sign I talked about at the beginning of our time together. Kindness matters…never let it leave you. But don’t forget, it’s not enough to believe that. Take some time and put it into action whenever you can. Look for opportunities. They are all around us.