Random acts of kindness

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

With all that is going on these days, it is hard to hear any good news, but the people of this city and beyond continue to do some amazing things. It’s not always the size of the goodness that is important, it is the genuine desire to help other people that impresses.

I have been a pastor now for going on sixteen years and have been in Bainbridge since 2000. That’s not a long time when compared with those who have decades of experience in the Christian community or those who have lived in this city for all of their lives.

The good folk of Bainbridge and Decatur County are no different than the good folk all around the world, but it’s always nice and sometimes surprising to see the goodness of God at work.

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As I am privileged to have this space in the paper to write and The Post-Searchlight allows me to write about anything, I would like to use my time and yours, if you read it, to express my great thanks for two random acts of kindness.

I won’t name the people or even get close to describing them because their acts were done anonymously and in the spirit set forth by our Lord Jesus when He said to “not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

By the way, that’s the spirit of this season that is known throughout the Christian nation as the Lenten Season. It is a season of forty days in which we are to be intentional in our spiritual lives. How might we give to the needy? How might we pray with great intensity? Could there be any abstentions from our personal desires that might bring us closer to the One who we remember as giving His all for us.

For many months I worried about Joe (name changed). He is wheelchair bound and lives, in many ways, an earthly life that doesn’t offer much hope. He was very active the first thirty years of his life and might even be described as oblivious to anyone but himself.

One day, as he was riding his four-wheeler, he topped a hill that was familiar. The only difference on this day was that beyond the top of the hill was a newly dug hole. Instead of an exciting jump that would land safely, he crashed many feet downward and was paralyzed from the waist down. His way of life changed in a matter of seconds.

It’s been more than ten agonizing years since that day. He lives almost alone. There is a faithful mother who helps him, but all of those friends who once hung with Joe in the good times no longer come around. There is a lot of loneliness in Joe’s world. And bed sores.

Most of us would think that Joe would be comfortably taken care of by the safety net of our generous government. Wrong! Those safety nets are quite porous and hard to arrange. Many people like Joe suffer in silence.

I met him many years ago and have become a friend. But I don’t know about bed sores. I take him to the doctor and have run some interference with the governmental agencies. That’s how I know how frustrating it can be to deal with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. You do realize that they don’t come running when you call, don’t you?

I thought Joe was going to die last fall. His bed sores had almost gotten the best of him, but he pulled through the Christmas holidays. Then, after the first of the year, something had to be done. But what? He had no doctor and emergency rooms would look at him and dismiss him. The Lord knew Joe needed help.

I called a friend who happens to be a doctor. I was calling for advice on the care of bed sores. He must have heard my plea for something greater than simple advice and he volunteered to see Joe. He didn’t have to. He’s a busy man and there really was no personal gain in this case.

“Bring him to my office on Monday and I will take a look,” my friend said.

He not only took a look, but went far beyond one extra mile and he might have saved Joe’s life. He certainly gave a glimmer of hope to him. He also restored Joe’s faith in humanity. Mother Teresa said, “Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.” My friend accepted Joe just as he was, but didn’t leave him there.

Another businessman in town, one I did not even know, performed an act of kindness recently.

God had laid a burden on my shoulders that was greater than I was able to handle on my own. God wanted me to know that this need was bigger than I was and, when it would be successfully met, there would be no doubt as to Who had met the need.

God works in mysterious ways and, once again, I was led to a place of business to simply ask advice. (As you can see, I don’t know too much…I’m always asking.) The owner of the business gave me great advice and that’s all I had come for. Yet, upon preparing to leave, he took his business check book.

“I’d like to be a part of this work,” he said. He wrote a very generous check, something I had not asked for, nor expected. I was humbled at God’s goodness as it passed through this man’s heart into my hands for the sharing with another.

I feel compelled to thank these people even though they will receive their greatest thanks from God. I also want you to know that God is so wonderfully kind and generous. He has blessed these men greatly and they are the first to say that. They also are not satisfied with holding on to their blessings. They are trying their best to share them.

It’s like the businessman said, “I found out a long time ago. You cannot out give God.” Enough said!