Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, May 11, 2012

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

How hard can this be, Friend?

A few weeks ago one of our church members asked to say a few words. He and his family were moving to another city and he wanted to speak to his church family. He shared several things, (including a good tithing message!) but the one that really hit me was a story he told of his first visit to our fellowship. He and his family had just pulled into a parking place. They had two small children and another on the way. As he and his wife struggled to grab diaper bags and bibles and kids, one of our ushers, Henry, came across the parking lot and introduced himself. He offered to help with the load, and walked and talked them right into the sanctuary. Five years later, this incident was still real in this family’s mind. I can’t say for sure that this caused them to stick in our church, but it surely didn’t hurt, and it left an imprint on their lives. They served the Lord here and were a blessing to the Body of Christ, at least in part because of one man’s simple act of kindness.

Several things really touched me in this story. First, Henry was not just putting in his time to fulfill his job description as an usher. He was being a Christian trying to be a blessing to someone else. Second, the little kindnesses we do for others are often much larger in their eyes than they seem to us at the moment. Never despise the power of acts of compassion. Third, we puzzle over the secrets of church growth and how to get people to stick. I’m thinking maybe it is much simpler than we make it. How about we just look around for ways to be thoughtful toward folks we don’t know? It might be hard to keep people away from a place where everyone is intentionally considerate. Maybe the real diagnostic here is the fact that I had never heard this story before. I talk to Henry a lot, and he never once told me what a great humanitarian he was for carrying the diaper bags. The thing that made this powerful is that it was real; the guy really did it just because it was the right thing to do.

Scripture Reading: And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. (7) Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. Philemon 1:6-7 NLT

Somebody Said: Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain

Just for this weekend, how about we each actively look for some way to be helpful to someone we don’t know. If that works out for us, we can recruit another volunteer to join us in the project next week. I’m thinking the movement will grow.



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