Bible Reading: Luke 6:29-49
We often wait on others to see how they are going to treat us…before we decide how to treat them. But Jesus turns the table around. In fact, He turns the table completely upside-down. He tells us to not relate to other people…based on their attitudes and actions toward us. Instead, we are to relate to them…based on God’s attitude and action towards us. We are to love them…based on God’s love for us. What a radical thought! You are to love other people…in the same way that God loves you.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
On April 15, 1947, something happened that had never happened before in history. On that day, an African-American man named Jackie Robinson stepped onto a baseball field and took his place at second base to play in a Major League Baseball game. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie and other black men had played in another league, a league made up of only black men. But he was the first African-American man to ever play professional baseball for Major League Baseball (MLB). It would be nice to say that it was an easy transition and that people welcomed him. But it was not so. Many fans, and even some of his own teammates, ridiculed him and made fun of him. They jeered him during the games and said terrible things about him in the newspapers. Jackie was a great baseball player. But their opinions had nothing to do with his ability to play baseball. Their opinions were based on the fact that he was a black man.
In a game the next year, 1948, in his team’s home stadium in Brooklyn, Jackie committed an error. The fans began to boo him and shout critical comments. This was common in other stadiums…but it hurt Jackie even more coming from the fans of his own team. He stood there at second base with his head down, humiliated. Suddenly, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, walked across the infield towards Jackie. He stopped in front of Jackie and talked to him. Then, he stepped next to him, put his arm around his shoulder, and faced the heckling crowd. The boos, the taunts, and the jeering stopped. They didn’t stop completely…he would be booed many more times over the next years. But, Jackie would later tell reporters that what Pee Wee Reese did that day saved his career.
Jackie went on to have an amazing 10-year baseball career.
- He was named Rookie of the Year in 1947
- He made the All-Star team six years in a row.
- He was named the National League Most Valuable Player of the Year in 1949.
- And, he played in six World Series playoffs, including the one in 1955 in which the Dodgers won the championship.
In 1997, MLB officially retired his uniform number, 42, from every team in the league. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day“, for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears No. 42. And all of that happened largely because of the friendship of Pee Wee Reese.
Have you ever been criticized by someone? Has someone said something bad about you? Done something that hurt your feelings? Has someone bullied you? If so, wouldn’t it be great to have a friend like Pee Wee Reese step up to you and put their arm around your shoulder? To tell other people that they didn’t care what they said about you, or thought about you…they were your friend and would support you. I know that I would like to have a friend like that.
Do you know anyone who needs a friend…like that?
- Do you know someone that other people make fun of?
- Someone who gets chosen last when teams are picked?
- Someone that just doesn’t seem to fit in…and gets left out?
- Someone that the other kids think is just weird?
- Someone who doesn’t get invited to go places with other kids their age?
Get this…Jesus said that you should be the friend that they are looking for. Jesus said that we should treat other people…the way that we want to be treated. Stop and think for a minute. Who do you know that doesn’t seem to have any friends? Maybe they’re not good at sports. Maybe they don’t have cool clothes. Maybe they act goofy. But for whatever reason…you can’t think of a time when you have seen them hanging around with a group of friends, or even one friend. If that was you…would you want someone to be nice to you and to be your friend? Sure you would. So, Jesus says that you should treat other people the way that you want to be treated. Don’t just be nice to people who treat you nice. Be nice to everyone. Be a friend to the person who has no friends. You could be the person who changes their life. You could be like Pee Wee Reese…in their life. You could be the person who helps them to know about God’s love. You could be like Jesus…in their life. Who do you know that needs a friend? You be that friend. Do it for them. Do it for Jesus. Do it…because Jesus did it for you.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,