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COMPASSION FOR AN OLD MAN


It was a bitterly cold evening in Northern Virginia many years ago. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost as he waited for a ride across the river. He heard a brigade of men on horses coming around the bend. He let the first one pass him without any effort to get his attention.


Then another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared and the old man caught the rider's eye and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side?" The rider said, "Sure, thing. Hop aboard." Seeing the old man unable to lift his half frozen body onto the horse, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse.


The horseman not only took the old man across the river but to his destination which was just a few miles away. As they neared the man's home the horseman was curious and he asked, "Sir, I noticed that you let several other riders pass by without making and effort to get a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I'm curious why on such a bitterly cold night that you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?"


The old man replied, "I've been around these parts for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good. I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were there. I knew that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to help me in my time of need."


Those heart warming comments touched the horseman. "I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion." With that, Thomas Jefferson turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.


Loving one another shows. Caring shows. You can't pretend you care. Others will know.


(From a sermon by Jerry Cosper, Loving One Another, 5/23/2012)

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