Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 16, 2011


Kindness may be the finest gift we can offer others


    Most of us love special days – like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day and so on. We like some of them so much we have made them national holidays, and that list is probably too long.

     Now that I am as old as dirt I rather like the idea of observing Grandparents Day. I believe a Sunday in September has been so designated but recognition of that day has not caught on yet.  Young folks, who are in most of society’s driver’s seats, ignore that day.

     Another day that has not attracted much attention is a Sunday in October called Clergy Appreciation Day. I guess it was started by a preacher who thought clergy should be singled out for praise one Lord’s Day a year.

     Some churches and most church members ignore the observance. As a pastor I have never felt comfortable reminding my flock that they should honor me. After all there is that admonition in the Bible that says, Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). To ignore that counsel is to shoot your own foot.

     Recently a few people did express appreciation for my pastoral work. I was grateful for their kind words which came mostly by email. One close friend went beyond the call of duty and sent me a card which touched me deeply.

     The card contained a brief statement by Roy Lessin titled “The Servant’s Reward.” I guess it meant more to me just now because I do think of myself as a servant of Jesus. Many years ago I embraced the concept of “servant of Jesus Christ” as my true identity. To constantly remind myself of my identity I have written the letters “sjc” after my name.

Roy’s words on the card may have had more than the usual impact upon my heart because I realize that the time is nearing when heaven will be my new home. I think more about heaven now than in previous years. Will it be like I have imagined? Will I be greeted with the words of my Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” If that happens, then I could tell the beer boys, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”

Many people other than preachers live as servants of the Lord. If you think of yourself as one of his servants, you may also be touched by Roy’s words:

“One day, when you are in heaven, someone will come up to you and thank you for the way you touched their life with hope and encouragement. The person’s words will take you by surprise. Soon another person will seek you out, and then another, and another.

“As you listen to each one’s story, you will begin to discover all the ways that God used your life when you were completely unaware of it. You will find that it was not only through the big things you did, but also through the small things—through a spoken word that was not planned, a spontaneous act of kindness, a loving attitude, or a simple prayer of concern.

“To your joy, you will discover that in all these ways and more, God used you to deposit an eternal measure of His love into many needy hearts.”

Inside the card, above my friend’s signature, were these words: “God is using you in more ways than you can ever imagine, and you are appreciated so much.”

My friend’s kind expression of appreciation with this card made my day. It got me to thinking. We spend our days doing many things, some of which were not worth doing in the first place. Perhaps, in the long run, acts of kindness could be the most important work we ever do. I know kindness has made a powerful difference in my life. I think I will need to spend my first thousand years in heaven thanking all the people who offered me kindness during my earthly journey. There are so many I have been too busy to thank.

Is it possible that kindness could be the finest gift we could offer to others? If so, we shall be wise to get busy being kind to the people around us. If Roy is right, it will make a difference here and in eternity. + + +