Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Uses Biblical story of the Sheep and the Goats to talk about the way to live out kindness and love in life. Presents three stories of "random acts of kindness" done by people.

Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let me tell you a true story about kindness between two

very different people who lived far away from one another: Beverly Powell (no relation), a cleaning lady from New Mexico, read a story in the newspaper about a South African man being murdered. The newspaper article told about his wife and his two sons. Something about the story touched Beverly’s heart, and she couldn’t help but write to the widow of this man. In the paper, she had read a quote attributed to the young widow: "I hate

every white I see. I think my kids are going to hate whites for their whole lives." Her heart went out to this traumatized wife and mother, and she wanted to reach out to this widow. Beverly decided to send a letter, but she didn’t have the address, only the woman’s name, the country, and the township name. So Beverly sent the letter, not knowing if it would make it to South Africa.

Unbelievably, the letter was soon delivered to Adelina

Rampuru, this 33-year old recent widow and mother in South Africa. Beverly had written from her heart, asking Adelina not to hate white people. She wrote that some white people sincerely desire for all people to be equal, “So please can you find it in your heart not to hate us all?” Beverly had even included a small gift of money for Adelina and her boys. Adelina was touched by this small gift and the sentiments included in the letter from Beverly. It meant so much to her that someone in the United States would even care about her husband and her family.

Beverly and Adelina have continued to write to one

another. Although Beverly makes a modest wage cleaning houses for a living, she says she would clean every house in Santa Fe if she could help Adelina out just a little bit. Shortly after her husband’s murder, Adelina was let go from her job at a car wash. Beverly has been sending $100 a month to Adelina, as a token of her support for Adelina’s family. It’s not much, but it’s all Beverly can afford. For Adelina, it helps to pay for

her sons’ school tuition and some basic household needs,

replacing most of the income from her lost job. Beverly’s simple of act of kindness has blossomed into a long-time, life-sustaining friendship for both Beverly and Adelina. (true story from Oprah Winfrey’s “Angel Network” and “O” magazine)

Or how about this story of unexpected kindness? Alex

Haley, the author of Roots tells the story of how his father had his life changed by a similar act of kindness. Alex’s father was the youngest of eight children, living as a sharecropping family. Everyone in the family was needed to help with the crops. After several years of schooling the family pressed each child into service on the farm. Fortunately the boy’s mother

intervened on behalf of her child and Alex’s father was allowed to stay in school. When he was ready for college he chose the Lane Institute, working as many as four jobs in addition to full-time studies. It was all physically and emotionally wearing. He worked for a summer as a porter on a train and happened to meet a man early in the morning who couldn’t sleep and wanted to talk. This man was impressed by a black porter working to earn money for college and tipped him the unimaginable sum of five dollars. By the end of the summer Mr. Haley had to decide whether to convert his summer earnings into a mule and begin to sharecrop, or to stretch to complete his last year at school. He took the risk of competing college.

Alex Haley tells what happened next: "When Dad arrived

on campus, the president called him into his office and showed him a letter he had just received. The letter was from the elderly man whom my father had met on the train, and it contained a check for $518 to cover Dad’s tuition and living expenses for one full year." The kindness of an unknown friend made all the difference in the life of Alex Haley’s father, Alex Haley himself, and every succeeding generation of that family. (as told in Rev. Richard J. Fairchild’s sermon: "When Lord, Did

We See You")

Or what about this story of kindness offered without

strings: In Chicken Soup for The Woman’s Soul, Donna Wick tells this story (“No Small Act of Kindness”): “The day was Thankful Thursday, our "designated day" of service. It’s a weekly tradition that my two little girls and I began some years ago. Thursday has become our day to go out in the world and make a positive contribution. On this particular Thursday, we had no

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