A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s. ~Richard Whately
“I know you; I grew up down the road from your dad.”
I was at summer camp, volunteering as a counselor. She was many years my senior, but that didn’t stop her from teaching the next generation with energy and enthusiasm.
“Your grandma used to send food to us because my mother was ill. She even gave us shoes to go to school.”
I was blown away.
My grandparents had thirteen children. I’m not sure how they afforded to clothe their own kids, let alone the ones down the road. But their generosity was still remembered sixty or seventy years later.
I remember the professor’s wife who invited us to Thanksgiving dinner because she had once been far from home herself.
I remember the mother of a student who passed along clothes to my little guys because she had three boys of her own and knew how quickly they can go through a pair of pants.
Even now I think of my neighbor who keeps our howling hound free of charge every time we leave town. She does it for the sake of love.
The early church had an opportunity. They were surrounded by people in need. Travelers, widows, sick neighbors, and the constant threat of famine were common drains on the community. Many of these problem people were ignored, shunned, or exiled.
But the church seized the opportunity and goodness spread.
The hospital movement owes its momentum to Christians. Orphanages developed as early as the fourth century because of Christians. Christians promoted leprosy communities, libraries, education, and safe living quarters.
What started as a small movement- share your possessions with others- became a hallmark of the Christian church.
What started as a meal and a pair of shoes for my grandma’s neighbor turned into a lifetime of serving others.
You may not think you are doing much today, but you never know where those offered shoes may travel.
Follow in the footsteps of those first Christians, wherever they may lead you. Because good deeds are remembered, and love is recognized.