Perhaps you’ve heard of the “pastor” who attempted to get out of an eighteen percent gratuity at a local restaurant. While I would like to think that this is an isolated event, it is no secret that the worst day for waiters/waitresses to work is Sunday. On this day the tips are the lowest and the customers’ attitudes are generally the poorest of any clientele. This exemplifies a problem for those who consider themselves Christians; many people think we are rude, and worse yet hypocrites. And here’s the dirty secret, many times we are!
Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Considering that command, I’m compelled to ask myself several questions: What kind of impression do I leave on people? Would they want to serve the God I claim to serve? Am I bringing glory to God through my life? Can others see Christ living in me?
I don’t always make the right choices, nor does my attitude always adequately reflect the perfect brilliance of Christ, but I do try. So here are a few thoughts or “tips” to consider as you go about your daily interactions with others.
- Those who serve are worthy of kindness, respect, and honor; after all Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28).
- Who knows what a little kindness may do for someone, you may help lead a soul to Christ.
- Remember the “Golden Rule.”
- We will be judged by our actions and our words (note especially Matthew 25:31ff.).
- Kindness breeds kindness. If you are polite and respectful to others, they are much more likely to return in kind. If you want to have a pleasant day, be a pleasant person!
We are imperfect people, and we all have bad days, but let us all cultivate a kind and loving attitude toward all people. You never know what an impact that may have on someone.
On January 22nd we will be “celebrating” 40 years of legalized abortion in this country. The
exact number of lives snuffed out before drawing a breath is difficult to ascertain. The approximate figures are even more difficult to grasp; between 50 and 60 million abortions have been performed in the U.S. alone since Roe v. Wade. But this shame does not belong to this country alone. Since 1980 conservative estimates place the total of worldwide abortions at 1. 25 billion, or about 40,000,000 per year.
With that horror placed before us what can we do? May I suggest a few things for your consideration?
- Pray: We must be a praying people. Pray for the leaders of our country (1 Tim. 2:2). Pray for all people (1 Tim. 2:1). Pray that people’s hearts will be touched and this scourge will be eliminated.
- Have Compassion: We must be a compassionate people. In light of the widespread nature of this tragedy, we must realize that many people have made choices they would not make again. People must find compassion now and forgiveness waiting when they repent.
- Advance the Gospel: We must be a people full of the good news of Christ. With kindness and love I suggest to you that politics will not solve this problem; not in this country nor in any other. The only real solution to all of life’s problems is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). In 1977 B. C. Goodpasture addressed the crowd at the Freed-Hardeman lectures for the final time. A quote from that lecture has resonated with me since I first read it: “The one thing that the world needs most now is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the one thing that can change the world. It is the only thing that can save our civilization and save the world from wreck and ruin. Yes, preach the word.”
Yes, preach the word, but also live the word! Friends, it is the only way.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the book, Pay it Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, or the movie by the same name, starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. The premise is simple; one person does an unprompted good dead for three people, and then they each in turn do something good for three people. The good deeds would then spread through society with everyone eventually doing good deeds for one another.
The concept is not original to Ms. Hyde as a quick browse through Wikipedia will bring up many instances of this wonderful idea, but it is clear that her novel and the movie which followed helped to popularize “paying it forward.”
Have you ever experienced someone “paying it forward?” On Christmas Day, Julia, Jeremiah, and I were traveling back from visiting Julia’s family in Kentucky. We stopped at the only food establishment that we saw open, a popular fast food chain. There were many cars in front of us at the drive through, and as we approached the pay window there were many cars behind us. The lady at the window joyfully informed us that we were the 12th vehicle since someone started a chain of “paying it forward.” The first car paid for their food and the food of the car behind them. Each subsequent car had paid for the food which belonged to the car behind them. It didn’t cost much, but it sure did feel good to know that someone at the end of the line was going to get a free Christmas meal.
Have you ever done something for someone else without expecting any payment in return, other than the good feeling you might receive? Jesus is the ultimate in paying it forward. The Hebrews writer tells us that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, for the joy of bringing us salvation (Heb. 12:2). The cross cost Jesus His life, but it brought Him unspeakable joy because the result was salvation for many. Can we pass along to others what Jesus has so freely purchased? Will you pay it forward today?