By BECKY SIEWERS
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
With so many voices around us claiming to speak the truth, is it any wonder we could become confused? Fortunately, we have the capacity to understand pure goodness. Like disheartened followers of Jesus at times, we are able to see the spirit of Christ in genuine acts of kindness, a consoling word or a spontaneous show of generosity. We find our hearts can be opened as we let go of being judgmental and instead see the face of God in a simple gesture of love.
My 3-year-old grandson started preschool this year, and his younger sister and I are there to get him when the session is over. One day as we were walking to my home, he was chatting away about the morning when he stopped suddenly. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a pretzel. He said to his 2-year-old sister, “I brought this for you, it was our snack this morning.” His sister happily took the treat while I fought back tears prompted by this spontaneous act of thoughtfulness.
This little boy, although not perfect (like all of us), does have a kind heart. I have seen him many times give up a toy, a book or something he had first that his little sister suddenly wanted. You can see on his face that it was difficult to do, but he somehow knew it was important to do for his sister. He will gladly do most anything I ask of him, with a casual “sure” response.
A pretzel for his sister was a small thing, I realize, but I would love to know what went through his head during snack time that led to this generosity! “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love. … I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (John 15: 10-11). That little boy may not know scripture yet, but he already knows what Jesus asks of us; to love one another.
Joy is Jesus’ gift to us, and he shows us how this gift can and should be in our lives. Those who accept Jesus’ commandments into their minds and hearts have experienced the joy that his commandments give to us. Think about this: “Am I happier when I do good for others, or am I happier when I’m doing the opposite?” Jesus’ deep wish for us is joy. We are free to say “yes” or “no” to the commandments that lead to joy. It can be difficult for sure, but it can also be good news. Jesus’ loving presence in our hearts is always with us, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Our souls can praise the Lord best when we are striving to be humble. The virtue embraces mildness, tolerance and other qualities of being modest. Jesus followed a humble way of living, we should learn this from him. Humility is an attitude of mind. It gives us a clear message that we are not overly impressed with our own importance. That little boy taught me a big lesson in being humble by saving one of his coveted snacks to give to his baby sister!
We are confronted with many choices, especially when we go to the grocery store! We are confused by what to choose, as well as getting the best deal for our budgets. You may spend a lot of money because of bad choices, and then find yourself right back at the grocery store, confronted by making choices again!
How do you spend your days, weeks, years … your life? Are you drawing nearer to God through your choices, or are you distracted by the ”junk food” of self-indulgence, easy judgment of others and not using your gifts in the best way?
Do I chew a morsel of God’s word as often as possible? Am I feeding my soul? It may have just been a pretzel, but that little boy knew the joy of sharing something with his little sister. It was not a choice for him, but an act of kindness made from love.