Stepping Out of the Box

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

When Jesus was questioned about the most important commandment, He answered by saying that the first great commandment is to love God with all your heart, and the second great commandment is like the first in that you  love your fellow man like you want your fellow man to love you (Matt. 22:34-40).  Doing for others is one of the core values of being a Christian.

Sometimes we tend to pick small or easy things to do for other people.  We pick things that won’t be too inconvenient for us or cost us too much.  Living stingily in our relationships with others is really most damaging to us. (Tweet this)  I dare you to “step out of the box” in doing something for somebody else.  Let me share with you some examples that have occurred in the fall of 2016.

Joseph Serna served two combat tours in Afghanistan.  When he returned home he had PTSD, so he tried to self-medicate with alcohol.  He was stopped for drunk driving and was given a DUI ticket, and then later he violated his probation.  The district court judge was Lou Olivera.  He sentenced Serna to one day in jail. 

Since Judge Olivera was a veteran himself, he was afraid the experience of a night in jail might trigger Serna’s PTSD.  So the judge decided to spend the night in the jail with Serna.  That’s right – the judge went behind bars with the prisoner, a fellow veteran.  All night long the two passed the time trading war stories, and the judge communicated how much he cared.  Joseph couldn’t believe somebody cared that much.

Jessika Baldwin got married in October.  Several people made suggestions about how she could celebrate her bachelorette party.  Some suggested they celebrate with tiaras and bottomless booze.  But Jessika was different.  She said she wanted a more memorable event than a night on the town “taking shots” and “stumbling around.” 

She decided she would give women from a local homeless shelter a day of pampering.  Jessika and her bridal party treated these residents to haircuts and manicures, a shopping spree and a nice restaurant dinner.  Now that’s “stepping out of the box” to do something for other people!  And Jessika didn’t really know these people before this event.  She said, “This was a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in my life.”

Dena Carreyn’s four-year old daughter Lyla became ill last October with a rare auto-immune disease that causes kidney failure.  She immediately launched a nation-wide search for a transplant match but could not find a donor. 

At this point, Beth Battista, Lyla’s preschool teacher, said she wanted to donate her kidney to her young student.  She did.  Dena Carreyn said, “Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude.  How do you thank someone for saving your child’s life?”  Now that is “stepping out of the box” to respond to Jesus’ great commandments.

Recently a group of inmates in a Texas jail broke out of a confinement area to save a guard who was suffering a heart attack.  Rather than watch him die, they broke out and saved his life.  One of the inmates, Nick Helton, said, “We were worried they would come down with guns drawn on us, but we were willing to take the risk.”  That guard is extremely happy that they did!

What opportunity is God giving you for a traditional, simple act of kindness, or something more radical that might be “stepping out of the box?”  Are you willing to take that risk?

Stepping out of the box is getting in step with Jesus!

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