Posted tagged ‘random acts of kindness’

Selling The Invaluable With the Replaceable

February 2, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W                                                                         February 2, 2015

                               

There were some really good commercials during the Super Bowl. Loved the tortoise and hare redo by Mercedes. The bouncing blue pill commercial sponsored by Fiat that was creative. The muscle-bound Skittles ad was a hoot as well!

Then there were the ads that tried to sell invaluable experiences and qualities, but would put their product or company as the face of that experience. Four that stood out to me were the Coca-Cola ad where an accidentally spilled Coke into a computer network changed hate into love around the world. Let’s be honest! I like a Coke with a hamburger or popcorn, but Coke is a drink high in sugar that has more negative effects than positive attributes. A Coke late at night will have the result of blessing me with a sleepless night, and when I’m short on sleep I’m grumpy. “A loving person” does not fit my demeanor at those times.

Another ad featured McDonald’s promoting the idea of kind acts and loving behavior. I’m fine with random acts of kindness and letting people know you love them, but McDonald’s does not impress me as Dr. Phil with golden arches. In case you missed it, when you go to a McDonald’s and purchase something there will be random selections where the customer will receive his/her order free if he does a certain act of kindness like call his mom and tell her he loves her. It’s sweet, and I suppose since Mickey D’s can’t promote many examples of a healthy diet a few words of appreciation must atone for the cholesterol hike.

There was a third commercial that could have been sponsored by Promise Keepers. It promoted fatherhood all through the ad with various scenes of dads with their kids. I was expecting Bill McCartney to come on at the end, but instead…Dove for Men was the sponsor. Nice smelling men must make better fathers!

Finally, there was the car company that promoted fatherhood, ironically through a dad who was a professional race car driver…and gone most of the time. But at the end of the commercial he drives up to his son’s school in a new Nissan and all seems well. Amazing how a new car can atone for a dad who is gone most of the time.

Love, happiness, being awesome dads…all good things, but not found in a shampoo bottle, a hamburger wrapper, or a shiny new car with a huge monthly payment. But I’m sure a lot of people bought into it. After all, that’s why companies spend millions of dollars advertising at Super Bowls.

As a pastor I have to take it to my arena! As churches are we sometimes guilty of trying to sell the gospel instead of proclaiming it? There’s a difference. The cross and the events of the crucifixion are hard to sell. They are excruciatingly painful and agonizing. When we try to sell the gospel the cross is rarely mentioned. It’s like the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about.

When we proclaim the gospel we tell the story of the love of God that took Jesus to his death, and brought Jesus from the tomb. There’s joy at the end of the story, but pain and suffering is the dominant element of the chapter.

Like “Dove For Men” sometimes churches try to sell the idea that if you come to this place you’ll be better dads. Whereas that sometimes happens, it seems that the church should promote the idea that it will come alongside you on your journey…the low points and the high points; that the church of Jesus consists of broken who recognize that we’re fractured and seeking to be healed and whole.

Let’s be honest! That’s the truth, but there isn’t much shine to it.

Opening A Door

January 23, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  January 23, 2015

                                                  

I watched a video online this week that my wife had forwarded to me that brought me to the edge of tears. It told a story about a young man who had lost his dad, and then he and his mom used from a small town to a city. His mom thought a change in setting would ease some of her son’s pain as he dealt with his father’s death. His new high school was substantially larger than the one in his small town.

It’s hard being the new kid in a setting where people have their friends already, their peer groups, and their places of standing. That is, high schoolers know the pecking order…who to give space to, who to chum up with, and, hard as it is to say, who doesn’t matter that much.

This young man, Josh, started to be picked on and bullied. He had pictures in his locker of his father that got torn down. Sometimes insecure students will do unbelievably cruel things to others…just because!

In the midst of new surroundings and a journey of grief Josh started opening doors for people. He would arrive at school early and hold the door open for other students coming in. In between classes he would hold the hallway door open as students rushed from class to class. After a while some of the students started noticing. He started being referred to as “the door guy.” More and more students started saying “thank you” or they would give Josh a high five! More students became familiar with his story and were taken back by his wounded heart that was still looking at doing simple acts of kindness.

Such a simple thing! Opening a door!

Josh began speaking to groups of elementary and middle school students about bullying and overcoming. He developed his new gift of public speaking…and continued to open doors!

I so often hear people say they have nothing to offer, that they don’t know what their gifts are and how they can serve. There’s a tendency to make it a grandiose thing that is out of their reach. They wallow in their defeat and sense of worthlessness.

Josh’s story hit me, because almost all of us can open a door for someone. Seeking to help is a personal decision, not a talent. Every person can be a benefit to others. Telling a cashier that you hope he has a good day, shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk, donating a book to the library, mentoring a fatherless child, praying with a parent in a hospital waiting room, or…simply opening a door!

Opening doors doesn’t require training, or to be certified. It’s simply a choice that we avoid or welcome.