February 7, 2014 - Radical Hope

Does what we do matter in the long haul?

When we have an opportunity to do something for someone else, what is the impact?

As Christians we are instructed to perform routine or continual acts of kindness as a way of life.

Colossians 3:12 states,

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, patience, 

When I was six years old I was arguing with my big brother, Bob. It was about something stupid (I did that a lot). He responded to my whining by offering to let me help him cut the grass of one of our neighbors. Although that may sound self-serving, it wasn’t.

Bob made money by cutting grass but I had never been allowed to help even though I had begged relentlessly. I admired him and wanted to be involved with what he was doing. But as a kid, I was a liability around machinery.

I was shocked and excited when he asked me to go with him, and as if that were not cool enough, he offered to share the money he earned with me! I had never earned money, and I was ecstatic!

Before Bob began cutting the grass with the mower, he taught me to trim around the trees with a pair of shears. It sounds dangerous but it wasn’t.

I worked tirelessly, and it was a treat to work at his side. As he worked I could tell he was keeping his eyes on me to make sure I was okay.

When we were finished, he collected his five dollars, and handed one of them to me. In those days, a dollar was a gold mine, and it was more than I deserved as a six-year-old fumbling with clippers.

As I basked in the moment, Bob did something that would impact me for the rest of my life–he took me to the old country store at the end of our block and bought me a Tastykake—a chocolate, crème filled cake that I had never had before. In those days, money was tight in our home and we didn’t get to enjoy such treats.

It may sound simple, but as great as the money was, the treat was even better. The fact that it has been one of my fondest memories for 50 year speaks for itself. My relationship with my brother changed that day—he cared, he showed it, and I felt it. Instead of arguing with his little brother, he showed me love.

It did something else—something much more powerful than he ever imagined. It gave me a bar—a standard I would apply to my life over and over whenever I wondered if what I was doing mattered.

To this day, my favorite Tastykake is still chocolate crème filled. I buy it whenever I can.

Question: Has someone touched your life in a simple but meaningful way? Comment below. I would love to hear your stories!