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Summary: Notice the simple responses our Lord noted in the actions of the righteous. Giving someone a drink of cold water, something to eat, clothes to wear a visit. These are simple and basic acts of kindness. No pomp, no plaque, no prestige.

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Michael Jordan ......is considered by some ......to be the greatest basketball player... of all time.

For most of us, ...... the scenes we remember ....... are the slam-dunks ....... while taking off ......from the free-throw line.

The fame, ... the popularity, ... the commercials, ... the championships.

But I would like to share with you ...... another side of Michael Jordan... that you may not be aware of.

It involved a young boy ...by the name of: Cornelius (Cor-nel-ius).

He was a thin, ... and an extremely quiet boy.

His mother and her boyfriend had tortured, ... abused ....and starved... Cornelius and his four-year-old brother.

The police discovered the abuse ... in time to save Cornelius, ......but it had been too late ....to save ......his 4-year old ... younger brother.

The newspaper reporter... who had been covering the story, ...mentioned in one of his columns ...that Cornelius' ...had a passion ...for basketball.

Steve Schanwald (Schan-wald), ...a vice president of the Chicago Bulls, ......read the column ... and called the reporter.

Though tickets to Bulls' games ...were without exception .... sold out.

(Schan-wald) said ...... that if Cornelius would like to come to a game ......he would make sure ......that tickets ... would be available.

The reporter took him ...to the game.

And I share this story ...from "his" perspective.

To every Chicago youngster .... who follows basketball, ...the Chicago Bulls arena ....is a shrine.

Think of where Cornelius once was, .... locked up ... tormented ...and hurting.

And now he was in the great arena, ...... about to see ...his first Bulls game.

Well ...... We walked down a stairway, ...until we were in a ... lower level hallway.

Then the door opened ...and a man came out.

Cornelius looked up,... and his eyes "filled" with a combination of wonder, ... awe .... and total disbelief.

He tried to speak ... then the man helped him out ......by speaking first.

"Hi, Cornelius," .... the man said...... "I'm Michael Jordan."

Jordan knelt down ......and spoke quietly with Cornelius.

He made some jokes ...and told some stories about basketball ... but Michael... did not rush the moment.

You have to understand ... for a long time... the only adults Cornelius had any contact with ...were adults .... who hurt him.

Jordan went back into the locker room...... to finish dressing ...for the game.

I walked Cornelius back upstairs .... to the court.

Ah ... but there...... was one more surprise ... waiting.

Cornelius was given a red shirt.... the kind .... worn by the Bulls' ...ball boys.

He retrieved balls for the players ... from both teams ...as they warmed up.

Then, .... as the game was about to begin, ... he was Led to Jordan's seat ...on the Bulls' bench.

That is where he was going to sit .... right next to ...Michael Jordan. (Pause)

Now ...At one point late in the game ...Jordan took a pass ......sailed into the air... and slammed home a basket.

......... Air Jordan!

And there, ... just a few feet away, ...was Cornelius Abraham, ...laughing out loud... filled with joy.

As we all applauded the incredible basket....... the act of kindness that Jordan and the Bulls had shown to Cornelius ......was receiving ... the applause .... of heaven.

Beloved ....... "Greatness in the kingdom of Heaven ...is measured ...... (Slow) by small acts of kindness." (Pause)

In today's Gospel reading ...we hear the words of our Lord concerning ... "Small acts of kindness" ....... Small acts of service ...to others.

In Order to understand this Gospel text ...you need to know ... that in the countryside, ... sheep and goats ...mingled ......during the day.

Yet ... At night ...they were often separated ...by the Sheppard.

Sheep tolerated the cooler air, ... while the goats ...had to be herded together... for warmth.

Here we find Jesus .......... taking this common activity of a shepherd ...and applying... deep symbolism ...to it.

As is typical of Hebrew poetry, ... we do not have any gray areas in our text.

The picture is painted sharply ...in black and white.

All fall into one of two classes ... symbolically, sheep ... and goats.

The sheep, ...... identified as the righteous ...are given the right hand, ... which is the place of power and honor.

The distinction between sheep and goats ...is easy ...for anyone to distinguish.

(Slow) And the righteous, ... represented by the sheep...... are identified ...in these ways.

(1 Finger) The righteous provided others ... with simple acts of kindness.

Notice the simple responses our Lord noted ...in the actions ...of the righteous.

Giving someone... a drink of cold water, ...something to eat, ......clothes to wear ... a visit.

These are simple acts ....... basic acts of kindness...No pomp, ...no plaque, ...no prestige.

God's followers ... are noted for numerous acts ...of kindness... simple acts .... Of self-sacrificing ...service.

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Michael Johnson

commented on Nov 25, 2017

A very relevant message today! Really appreciate the message/ illustrations. We need kindness!

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