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Sermon Illustrations: Kindness

I was at the local fruit shop and had a few dollars left on me. The lady in front of me started paying for her fruit and vegetables, but found she was 10c short. It's not something I normally do, but I gave her 10c. She was happy, and the queue moved again. Then it was my turn. Unbelievably, I'd left myself short of 5c when I came to pay, which is not like me at all. For the first time in my life, the lady behind me said: "I've got 5c. Here you go." And so I had enough money to pay for my bananas. The three of us laughed about it. I'd never been part of such a chain of kindness. It made my day. Catherine Sies. Readers Digest, July 2007 p 28 (How sad that this was the pinnacle of kindness in this lady's experience.)


In a study of 37 cultures, 16,000 subjects were asked about the most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness. University of Texas study by Professor David Buss. RD Nov 2007 p 21


Am I A Fireman Yet?? In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukaemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up & fulfil all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukaemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true. She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?" "Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up." Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true." Later that day, she went to her local Fire Department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine. Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy - one with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow sticker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast." Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's van, and even the Fire Chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program. Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible. One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone - began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition. The Chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favour? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?" About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window. Sixteen fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his mother's permission, they hugged him, and held him, and told him how much they loved him. With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the Fire Chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?" "Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand," the chief said. With those words, Billy smiled and said, "I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing." He closed his eyes one last time. (Received as an email, so origin unknown)


Before the Battle of Trafalgar: Observing one day off Cadiz that his signal lieutenant, John Pasco, looked annoyed, Nelson asked what was the matter. A ship had just left with mail for England and was already some distance off, under full sail. "Nothing that need trouble your Lordship," Pasco replied. But Nelson insisted, and Pasco told him: the bosun who had loaded Victory's mailbags had forgotten to put in his own letter to his wife, and had found it in his pocket. "Hoist a signal and bring her back," the admiral said. "Who knows that he may not fall in action tomorrow?" And the ship returned, and hove to while a boat was launched to carry the single letter. Stories like this went quickly around the fleet, and were gratefully remembered.1


1 Howarth, David & Howarth, Stephen Nelson: The Immortal Memory p318