Kindness

“If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he’s travelling wrong, then my living will not be in vain. If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, if I can bring salvation to a world over wrought, if I can spread the message as the Master taught, then my living will not be in vain.”

Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader (quote from his sermon preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church in February 1968, two months before he was assassinated).

In the autumn of 2009 a few dozen people travelled to London to mark his one-hundredth birthday celebration and to thank Nicholas Winton. The group themselves were mostly all in their seventies or eighties. But this was no social trip. It was a journey of gratitude. They came to thank the man who had saved their lives: a stooped centenarian who met them on the train platform just as he had done in 1939, seventy years previously.

Nicholas Winton was a twenty-nine-year-old stockbroker at the time. Hitler’s armies were ravaging the nation of Czechoslovakia, tearing Jewish families apart and marching parents to concentration camps. No one was caring for the children. Winton got wind of their plight and resolved to help them. He used his annual leave to travel to Prague, where he met parents who, incredibly, were willing to entrust their children’s future to his care. After returning to England, he worked his regular job on the stock exchange by day and advocated for the children at night. He convinced the government to permit their entry into the country. He found foster homes and raised funds. Then he scheduled his first transport of child refugees on March 14th 1939, and accompanied seven more over the next five months. His last trainload of children arrived on August 2, bringing the total of rescued children to 669.

On September 1st, the biggest transport was to take place, but Hitler invaded Poland, and Germany closed borders throughout Europe. None of the 250 children on that train were ever seen again.

After the war Nicholas Winston didn’t tell anyone of his rescue efforts, not even his wife when they got married. [Over 40 years later] In 1988 she found a scrap book in their attic with all the children’s photos and a complete list of names. She prodded her husband to tell the story [and afterwards she secretly contacted a popular TV programme called, ‘That’s Life’: The presenter, Esther Ransom, sneaked the unsuspecting Nicholas Winton into the studio and then revealed his story to the world.]

The grateful group of people he rescued includes a film director, a Canadian journalist, a news correspondent, a former minister in the British cabinet, a magazine manager, and one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force. There are some seven thousand children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren today who owe their existence to Nicholas Winton’s bravery – and who remember him with joy. (He died in Slough in 2015, aged 106.)

Show the following YouTube clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nFuJAF5F0

Source: Max Lucado, 2010, Our Live Your Life, Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville Tennessee, USA, p.15-16

Learn to be happy when others succeed: Be like the little boy who returned from auditioning for the school play and said, “Mummy, I got brilliant part. I’ve been chosen to sit in the audience and cheer for my friends.”

Source: The UCB Word For Today , 07/06/2003

Good deeds are like chickens; they always come home to roost.

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will too late.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once while Abraham Lincoln was dining in the White House one of his guests blew on his coffee, poured it into his saucer, and drank from it. As you might imagine, some of the refined ladies and gentlemen seated nearby were aghast, and for a moment the room was filled with an embarrassed silence. Then Lincoln took his coffee, poured it into his saucer, and for the rest of the evening drank directly from it. And you know what? Everyone else in the room followed suit! One small act of kindness saved a White House guest unbelievable embarrassment. And that simple but thoughtful gesture by one of America’s greatest presidents reminds us of the value of setting an example of kindness.

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 20/2/2016

Chances are you’ve never heard of Stephen Grellet, a French-born Quaker who died in 1855. He’d still be unknown to the world at large, except for a few immortal lines that will likely be remembered forever: ‘I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.’ Each day has one thing in common with the next. Both offer opportunities to show kindness, and when missed, those opportunities leave you with unwanted regrets.

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 20/2/2016

Do a good deed today: Mug someone with kindness.

‘The Bridge Builder’

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and grey,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You’re wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at eventide?”

The builder lifted his old grey head.
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been nought to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

by Will Allen Dromgoole

Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

Mother Teresa

The nicest thing we can do for our Heavenly Father is to be kind to one of his children.

St. Teresa of Avila

To make a real difference in the life of another has a ripple effect. Your helping or guiding someone else will touch the lives of many by virtue of having touched one. It is contagious.

Dr Creflo A. Dollar, U.S. Christian minister

Steve Sjogren wrote a book called Conspiracy of Kindness. He started a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, that has grown rapidly to an average attendance of 7,500 in just fifteen years. Their motto is, ‘Small things done with great love are changing the world’. They carry out random acts of kindness like paying for a stranger’s coffee, or writing a ‘thank you’ note to a shop assistant. They have discovered the power and impact of ‘showing God’s love in practical ways’. (…) People from outside were attracted because of what they saw happening on the inside. They were attracted by the sheer undiluted power of God released through ‘acts of kindness’.

Source: Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha, Day 157 of 365

John Ruskin (1819-1900), the English art critic and social reformer, loved to tell the tale of the lamplighter. As a boy, Ruskin, would often look out from his bedroom window to watch the street lamps being lit around the town. The “lamplighter” would carry his lighted lamp on top of a special pole and would move from one lamppost to the next throughout the town. As darkness began to fall, Ruskin would lose sight of the lamplighter but he could always tell where he was and where he had been because of the trail of bright lights he left behind him.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world… don’t put your lamp under a bowl… instead let your light shine” (Matthew 5:13-16). We should be ‘lamplighters’ shining in this dark world, leaving a trail of lights burning behind us and seeking always to leave a place brighter for having visited.

I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

William Penn (1644-1718), English Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania

Jesus instructed us, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Matthew 7:12 NIV

‘What is Good?’

“What is good?”
I asked in musing mood.
Order, said the law court;
Knowledge, said the school;
Truth, said the wise man;
Pleasure, said the fool;
Love, said the maiden;
Beauty, said the page;
Freedom, said the dreamer;
Home, said the sage;
Fame, said the soldier;
Equity, said the seer.
Then spoke my heart full sadly,
“The answer is not here.”
But then, from within my bosom,
Softly this I heard:
“Each heart holds the secret;
Kindness is the word.”

by John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-90)

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet

‘Drop A Pebble In The Water’

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the centre, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You’ve disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the centre as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute you forget;
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart a mighty wave of tears you’ve stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy fore you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone,
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling, and there’s joy a-circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.

by James W. Foley

Inspirational Sir Nicholas Winton BBC Programme That’s Life aired in 1982

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