He That is Greatest Among You…Giving Service

He that is Greatest among you shall be your Servant Matthew 23:11When I think of the Savior of us all, I think of all his abilities, all of his intelligence and all of his service.

His, was an amazing example of the one with the most serving those with the least.

Having had a near-death experience, I know like few others do, the total and complete perfection of our Savior. I know that he could have delivered himself out of the hands of his persecutors and yet he didn’t. Mortality makes it really difficult for most of us to comprehend just how much has been done for us through the atonement of Jesus Christ and his perfection.

Ego, desire for power and selfishness distance us from our Savior and our Creator. I know how much they love us. I also know that overcoming the “man” in ourselves results in priceless joy.

We may have power, prestige, and possessions but if we don’t know how to love or care or serve, life is truly empty and void of joy.

I love today’s story. I believe it is a great reminder to us all that service can come from anywhere at any time – and that service is a priceless gift to both the giver and the receiver! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Today You, Tomorrow Me

During this past year I’ve had three instances of car trouble: a blowout on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out-of-gas situation. They all happened while I was driving other people’s cars, which for some reason makes it worse on an emotional level. And on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my own car, and know enough not to park on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Each time, when these things happened, I was disgusted with the way people didn’t bother to help. I was stuck on the side of the freeway hoping my friend’s roadside service would show, just watching tow trucks cruise past me. The people at the gas stations where I asked for a gas can told me that they couldn’t lend them out “for safety reasons,” but that I could buy a really crappy one-gallon can, with no cap, for $15. It was enough to make me say stuff like “this country is going to hell in a hand basket,” which I actually said.

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke any English.

One of those guys stopped to help me with the blowout even though he had his whole family of four in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to three hours with my friend’s big Jeep. I put signs in the windows, big signs that said, “NEED A JACK,” and offered money. Nothing. Right as I was about to give up and start hitching, a van pulled over, and the guy bounded out.

He sized up the situation and called for his daughter, who spoke English. He conveyed through her that he had a jack but that it was too small for the Jeep, so we would need to brace it. Then he got a saw from the van and cut a section out of a big log on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top and we were in business.

I started taking the wheel off, and then, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones, and I wasn’t careful, and I snapped the head clean off.

No worries: he ran to the van and handed it to his wife, and she was gone in a flash down the road to buy a new tire iron. She was back in 15 minutes. We finished the job with a little sweat and cussing (the log started to give), and I was a very happy man.

The two of us were filthy and sweaty. His wife produced a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand, but he wouldn’t take it, so instead I went up to the van and gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I’d send them a gift for being so awesome. She said they lived in Mexico. They were in Oregon so Mommy and Daddy could pick cherries for the next few weeks. Then they were going to pick peaches, then go back home.

After I said my goodbyes and started walking back to the Jeep, the girl called out and asked if I’d had lunch. When I told her no, she ran up and handed me a tamale.

This family, undoubtedly poorer than just about everyone else on that stretch of highway, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took a couple of hours out of their day to help a strange guy on the side of the road while people in tow trucks were just passing him by.

But we weren’t done yet. I thanked them again and walked back to my car and opened the foil on the tamale (I was starving by this point), and what did I find inside? My $20 bill! I whirled around and ran to the van and the guy rolled down his window. He saw the $20 in my hand and just started shaking his head no. All I could think to say was, “Por favor, por favor, por favor,” with my hands out. The guy just smiled and, with what looked like great concentration, said in English: “Today you, tomorrow me.”

Then he rolled up his window and drove away, with his daughter waving to me from the back. I sat in my car eating the best tamale I’ve ever had, and I just started to cry. It had been a rough year; nothing seemed to break my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t handle it.

In the several months since then I’ve changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and once drove 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. But every time I’m able to help, I feel as if I’m putting something in the bank.

Originally by Justin Horner, posted Mar 10, 2011 [From a post on reddit.com and re-published in NY Times.]

Story shared from the following website: http://www.kindspring.org/story/view.php?sid=25237

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Kind Words Have the Power to Change Lives…

Kind words are  short and easy to speak, but their echoes are  truly endless   Mother TeresaI am trying to figure out a mystery that relates to words. How is it that we know the profound effect that words can have on us and yet have little knowledge of how important our words are to others?

In heaven, kind and loving words are the staple of that realm. Besides the actual sense of love that permeated heaven, it was the way we treated and honored each other that made heaven so blissful for me.

Who doesn’t love being surrounded with love and positive reinforcement of their value?

Think how different this world would be if we all shared positive words of encouragement!

We all have the personal power to choose our words! What words will you share with those you love and associate with today? I hope you will read today’s story and then think about the power of your words!

The Power of Encouragement

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.

Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.

He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”

Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

– Author Unknown

Story shared from the following website: http://www.motivationalwellbeing.com/motivational-stories-9.html

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Let Us Be Grateful to People Who Make Us Happy…The Power of Kindness

Let us be grateful to people  who make us happy; they  are the charming gardeners  who make our Souls Blossom.   M. ProutI am sooo grateful for those individuals who light the world with their inner light. I hope, someday, to be one of those people – you know, the ones who light up a room when they walk into it. Not because they are important or famous but because there is a light that shines from their heart.

I have been blessed to have been shined upon by many such individuals. They have been both friends and strangers but always they have brought feelings of warmth and sunlight into my soul.

I hope you have been blessed by many such encounters, as well!

I think today’s story wonderfully illustrates that we all have the personal power to be that kind of person! I hope you enjoy!

A 15 Year Blessing From A Homeless Person

–by Blessed66

This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then.

On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway. He looked to be in his late 40’s but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature.

His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes. His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case. He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing.

Every day after work I would remember to gather any spare change, and put it aside to give to him if I saw him. A feeling of joy would come over me every time I saw him, as I came off the ramp. He had that effect.

I’d quickly roll down my window and give him the coins. Occasionally the red light would be on for a minute and we would ask each other about our day. His answer would always be the same, “I’m blessed!”.

I knew what his answer was going to be every time, yet I would still ask. It amazed me that even in his situation of being homeless he was so positive, and his answer would remind me of how blessed I was. A single mother of four amazing kids, with a place to call home and with a job to provide for my kids.

Then one day I was called into my boss’s office and was told that I was being laid off due to the economy. A feeling of worry engulfed me, and for the rest of that day all I could think of was “how am I going to provide for my kids, how am I going to pay rent, what am I going to do?”

Needless to say that on my way home that day I was very sad and upset. I didn’t remember to look for my spare change and keep it ready like I usually did. I wasn’t feeling the joy as I got off the ramp where the homeless man would be. Yet there he was as always, as I turned the ramp. He set his eyes on me, while still smiling and waving at others.

I’d hoped to catch the green light, but I missed it. While I was waiting for the red light to turn, he strolled over to my car. He had a big smile he looked me straight in the eyes and said “today I will give you a dollar”. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill. I was blown away. I burst into tears. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug him!

You see that day he gave me more than a dollar bill, he taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what material things are taken from you, no one can take away your choice to be joyful. My ride home was smooth sailing, I had lost my job, had no savings, but I knew I was blessed!

Every time I’m faced with challenges, I think of the homeless man’s valuable lesson and remember that I am blessed.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.kindspring.org/story/view.php?sid=19544

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Sowing Our Lives…

2 Corinthians 9:6

It’s been over two years now since my father joined the throngs in heaven. I miss him greatly. Often, as I think of him, I think of comments that his friends and my friends made to me and my husband at the funeral and just after his passing. My dad’s life was all about sowing.

My dad was not a sower of dollars, he sowed friends with his ever willing service.

At my dad’s funeral, one of his friends asked me if I knew who they had met each other. He then proceeded to tell me how they met: My dad was interested in leasing some land for his cattle. He went to this man’s home to talk to him about leasing some of his land. When my dad arrived, this man was, as he said, “up to his eyeballs in a mess”. He was in the middle of replacing a toilet. My dad asked him if he knew what he was doing. This man said no and my dad said, “Well let me help you then!”. My dad then proceeded to help him repair his toilet for the next 2 or 3 hours and then they discussed leasing the land.

I could tell by the expression on his face that what my dad had done for him that day still meant the world to him.

It is not usually convenient to give service but it is always worth the effort! What kind of life are you sowing? Will you be missed by a host of friends when you step beyond this life? Will friends who proceeded your departure gather in heaven to welcome you?

I hope that when the day comes that I pass to other side again, that I will be blessed to be surrounded by a host of family and friends who welcome me with smiles, hugs and lots of fond shared memories!

The lives that we sow make a difference in the lives of others that we mingle with! I hope you enjoy today’s story as much as I did!:

I was watching my favorite pastor yesterday and he told the most amazing true story that made me cry. I hope I can retell it properly.

About 26 years ago he was standing in line at a convenience store in New Orleans and noticed the family in front of him did not have enough money to pay for the few items they were buying. The pastor tapped the man on the shoulder and told him to not turn around, but to please take the money he was offering him. The man took the money, and never turned around to look at the kind stranger helping him.

Nine years had passed since that incident in the convenient store, and the pastor was invited as a guest speaker in New Orleans. He spoke, and after the service he was standing by the door greeting people and after most everyone had left, a gentleman walked up to him. He told the pastor an amazing story about how he had come to know the Lord.

Several years ago he, his wife and their child were destitute. They had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in their car. They were not Christians at the time and had decided to make a suicide pact, including the child. They drove to a cliff and quietly discussed their fate. They decided that they should at least give their child some food before they killed themselves and drove away to buy him some milk and food.

They were standing in line at the store, and realized they did not have enough money to pay for the few little items they wanted to give their child for his last meal. Then, he said a man behind him spoke and asked him to please take the money from his hand and to not look at him. The man also told him and his family that “Jesus loves you.”

The man said that they left the store, drove back to the cliff and wept for 4 hours. They knew that they could not go through with what they had planned to do, so they drove away. They drove by a church with a sign that said “Jesus loves you”, and went to the church the next Sunday. The man and woman both got saved that day in Church.

The man then told the Pastor that the minute he stood up in the pulpit and started speaking that he knew immediately that the Pastor was that kind stranger from 9 years ago. He said he would never forget that accent. The Pastor is from South Africa, so he has a very distinct accent. He continued on to tell the Pastor that because of his one random kind act he saved three lives that day, and because he had told them that Jesus loves them, it had drawn them in to a church where they accepted Christ!!!!

Story shared from the following website: http://www.city-data.com/forum/christianity/549297-very-touching-story-power-giving.html#ixzz25h0JvQk2

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The Golden Rule….Still a Good Idea

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule…not only is it still a good idea; it is one of the easiest way to improve our lives, our relationships and the world!

The Golden Rule is not about controlling or manipulating. It is about honoring and understanding. I believe that that is what makes it so profound.

In order to utilize the Golden Rule, we must love: love ourselves, our creator, and those we call our fellowmen.

Many assume that loving ourselves is a natural accomplishment. I have found that most children love themselves easily. However, for teens and adults – loving ourselves is often filled with difficulties. Life seems to hand us experiences that challenge our ability to love and accept ourselves as wonderful and worthy of love. Yet, loving and honoring our self is fundamental to loving God and others.

Loving our Creator is an endeavor that requires effort and sacrifice. Knowing God through prayer, meditation, and the scriptures is essential and blesses our lives with strength that cannot be demonstrated but which I believe is tangible nonetheless.

Loving our Fellow man can be difficult. However, once we understand that each of us has the same basic needs, I think it becomes easier. We all need love. We all want acceptance. We all want to live a meaningful life and we all want security. Our personalities and beliefs may be very different but our core needs are very much the same.

During my near-death experience, I saw how we interacted with each other in that realm. I saw how we loved each other and cherished each other. Maybe even more important, I saw how we honored each other and supported each other in our various talents, gifts and endeavors. In other words, heaven was an amazing place to witness the Golden Rule being practiced and implemented.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about the Golden Rule and the positive impact it could have on your life!:

THE OLD MAN AND HIS GRANDSON

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ‘What are you doing there?’ asked the father. ‘I am making a little trough,’ answered the child, ‘for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

Story is shared from the following website and is a Grimm’s Fairy Tale: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2591/2591-h/2591-h.htm#link2H_4_0029

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