A little bit of kindness can go a long way, especially when it helps to recover a small wallet lost in a foreign country. Laurie Fenby was enjoying a relaxing Saturday in her hometown of Rochester, New York. She was spending the morning looking for treasures at garage sales. Laurie had made a small purchase and was walking down the driveway when she spotted a small wallet on the ground. She picked the wallet up, looked inside, and realized that it belonged to a young man named George.
Pee Wee Reese’s contributions to Major League Baseball were significant. He was a tremendous competitor with the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, his most important action, one that truly helped change the game, is his acceptance and support of Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He joined Pee Wee Reese and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. That year, the Brooklyn Dodgers traveled to Cincinnati to play the Reds. The Cincinnati crowd was extremely vocal in their protest of Jackie Robinson…
Virginia Waller-Torres was driving her car near Arlington National cemetery. Out of nowhere, it began to pour, filling the streets. Virginia’s small car was quickly stopped by the rushing water. She had nowhere to go. Virginia was stalled in the middle of a dangerous road, worried what would happen next, as the rains continued to pour down.
As Virginia’s anxiety began to grow, something amazing happened…
There are few conversations more interesting in the Gospels than the one between Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman. (I hope you will take a moment to read it: Mark 7:24-30) In this conversation there are theological arguments, cultural struggles and name calling. It would even seem that the Syrophoenician woman wins the argument.
The seventh chapter of Mark begins with several religious leaders from Jerusalem eating with Jesus and his disciples. The religious leaders have traveled to meet with Jesus in the area known as Galilee. Galilee is where Jesus does much of his ministry. There they have an argument about what is clean and unclean, because it seems that some of Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands, according to the “tradition of the elders.” Jesus strongly teaches that, “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but that the things that come out are what defile.” This conversation was about dietary restrictions found in the Levitical law. However, it was to teach that God was most concerned about what’s in our hearts and not in our stomachs.
Tim and Jessa knew what to expect when they moved into a new apartment in Orlando, Florida. They had lived in apartments before. The doors in their hallway all looked the same. People were moving in and out of their individual apartments, each looking to their own daily tasks. There was not a lot of community, even though so many lived so close together.
Wanting to make a positive difference in their new community, Jessa and Tim decided to do something with the door of their new apartment…
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
– Psalm 16:7-11
When I was in high school, our football team was pretty good. I was a wide-eyed, scrawny sophomore, and we were heading to our 4th state championship in a row. It was game day. The team was ready in the underbelly of the stadium and the air was thick with excitement and anticipation. The game plan was ready, fans were in the stands, and our helmets were on. Then, like a charging stampede, the first of the team leaders busted through the red, black, and white banner and we were sprinting across a crimson and cream field in unison towards our sideline. It was an amazing and exciting moment. The fight song was blaring, friends and family were screaming, and the energy was palpable, but… after a few steps, I knew something was wrong…
“Who touched my clothes?” – Mark 5:30
When we are sick, when we are tired, when we are hopeless, we will go to great lengths to find healing and hope. When a woman who had been sick for twelve years heard that Jesus was coming to her community, she made sure that she would be able to get close to him and perhaps find healing in his presence. When Jesus arrived, there was a great crowd of people gathered around him, including his disciples.
It is a familiar scene at my house. Just as you walk in the front door, bags are piled up. You must watch where you step as you enter. Backpacks filled with school supplies, bags for cheerleading, cross-country, pom pom, and several other academic and extracurricular activities make it no further than the entryway of our home. We ask for bags to be moved, cleaned up and put away, but they always return.
Aimee and I are understanding of bags being dropped off in the entryway. After all, it is often a long day for everyone in our house…