Quiet and Simple Kindness
While Jesus was in Jerusalem for His last Passover celebration before going to the Cross for us, He packed in lots of teaching. Many of the parables and teachings we have heard most were ones He gave during that last week.
One of those teachings was about the future judgment scene. Jesus talked about the time when God would divide all the nations into the goats who had not lived for Him and the sheep who had. Jesus talked about simple acts of obedience: feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty something to drink, inviting in strangers, clothing people, visiting sick people, and visiting people in prison — the kinds of activities people do quietly.
Ray and I recently lost a friend and near neighbor, completely unexpectedly. We have known her, her husband, and their son and his family since 1993 when we came to Cookeville. We used to spend a great deal of time with her son’s family, which included four boys. These children are younger than our children, but our families got together often, we enjoyed birthday parties, and our children sometimes babysat the boys.
One of the boys was in the first Sunday School class I taught in Cookeville in 1993. He was one year old and adorable.
Our paths have not crossed the children’s paths much since they became teens and young adults, but we have seen them occasionally at events such as their grandfather’s eightieth birthday party a year or two ago.
When Ray and I attended our friend’s funeral almost two weeks ago, we were deeply moved. Two ministers participated and did well, but the highlight of the funeral were the words of our friend’s son, her daughter who lives out of state, and each of our friend’s six grandchildren (one is deployed and his cousin had to read his tribute). Except for the written tribute from the grandson who is deployed, each one of our friend’s children and grandchildren stood before us and verbalized their love and affection for their mother and grandmother and the great influence she had on them.
The next day Ray was the minister at the graveside service. Before the service began, I had a conversation with the young man who long ago was a one-year-old in my Sunday School class. This family is brimming with musical talent. I had heard wonderful things about this young man’s voice; I mentioned that I had never heard him.
When the graveside service began, our friend’s son began a song. My former student quietly left his spot with the family, just at the edge of the tent, and came back several feet to where I was standing. As the song began, he realized that he had an opportunity for me to hear him sing. When the song was over, he joined the family back at the tent.
Kindness and thoughtfulness are two of the most important lessons we can exemplify and teach our children.
What is desirable in a man is his kindness . . .