We swell with pride when those we love do well.
But our hearts are warmed when those we love do good.
In Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, it is a sorry group of friends and family who, like Ivan Ilych himself, despite marked accomplishments and status, are found woefully wanting in time of mortal need. Rather, it is the butler's young assistant, Gerasim, who brings comfort to his master, cheer to his room, kindness and candor to his dying. "We shall all of us die, so why should I grudge a little trouble?" Raising Ivan's legs to ease the pain. Attending to the needs of illness. Bringing closeness and comfort to one used to being left alone. "It is God's will. We shall all come to it some day." For Gerasim, God's will meant bringing simple kindness and comfort to another's need. No fuss or fanfare.
Dear Lord, we thank you for those neighbors, known and unknown, who simply bring your love by their unheralded kindnesses to those who need it. So may we, where we can follow their example. Amen
1 John 5:1-6 (NRSV)
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.
5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.