Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
It's the New Year, and we're in it.
As we go into the unknown new year, it seems appropriate to tell a story that comes from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.
The place is a restaurant called, Aramingo Diner. There, during breakfast, shortly before Christmas, a most extraordinary thing happened. A nameless couple paid for their meal and then picked up the tab of some other diners who were sitting at a different table.
The couple only asked that their beneficiaries not be told what had happened until they left. Then, and only then, could the wait staff say, "Merry Christmas! Those people picked up your check."
The gesture was the beginning of a chain reaction. For the next five hours, dozens upon dozens of the diner's guests got caught up in the holiday spirit and bought a meal for someone else.
The manager of the restaurant commented, "It was a surprise to all of us." One of the ladies who had waited on tables at the diner for ten years said, "It was truly wonderful. I had tears in my eyes."
I liked that story. It made me feel good.
There were only two things I didn't like. First, I didn't like the fact the generosity couldn't be sustained. It eventually ended. The second thing that saddened me was that this kind of good news generosity happens so seldom that it actually becomes news when it does occur.
Maybe that's one of the reasons the angels spoke about Jesus being good news for all people. You see, in the smallest of ways that story tells what Jesus has done for us. He paid our bill.
With His faithful fulfillment of the laws we had broken, He paid our bill. Through His ongoing resistance to Satan's temptations, He paid our bill. His carrying of our sins, His death on the cross, His entire life were dedicated to paying our bills.
It was the most gracious thing this sad world has ever seen.
Now the Lord asks that those who acknowledge the salvation given them because of Jesus should share Him with others.
That's what it says in Hebrews: do good and share with others for it pleases God when you do.
By God's grace, in the New Year -- in every year -- we will do just that.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for past blessings, my thanks. For future joys, my praise. Now may I, redeemed by the Christ, share the wonders of His love with others. May this be my resolve and resolution in the New Year. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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