Tuesday, August 2, 2016

For their good.....

"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
                                                                                             Romans 15:1-5

I read a story this week, a story that reaches back to 1941, about an event that took place just 10 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The attack triggered America's entrance into World War II.  Our entire country was devastated and worries of the war being fought both abroad and in our home country.  Thousands were enlisting, as the heart of America was beating by the sacrifices of its people.

The story was about a small town in Nebraska whose residents heard a rumor that a troop train, loaded with men from the Nebraska National Guard would be passing through their town.  The entire community started organizing and working toward making "goodie bags" for all the troops on that train. There would be food, toiletries, magazines, snacks, and just about anything else to show this community's support.  When the train arrived, they learned it was not the Nebraska National Guard, but a troop train that had originated in Kansas, and loaded with men that nobody knew. They thought briefly, then decided to share all the prepared bags with their neighboring Kansas troops.  All of this led to something better.

The community further organized and decided to make the goody bags available to every troop train that came through their town.  I can hardly imagine the work and sacrifice involved, but the people of North Platte, Nebraska never missed a troop train during the entire war.  Not only were the needs of the troops met in such a gracious way, but the community folks became closer and closer to each other as they worked day in and day out to show love and support for those defending our country.

The last troop train passed through that Nebraska town in April of 1946.  The war was over and the troops were arriving back home.  At that point it was calculated this single community had blessed over six million servicemen during the war years. Counting the folks from neighboring towns, some 45,000 volunteers had made a difference by serving sandwiches, drinks, and other necessities to our fighting men.

The next paragraph in the story I read asked a single question. "What are you doing to build up the people that you encounter every day?  Now look to the scripture above, with special emphasis on verse 2. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.   Spend some time today serving others, praying for others, helping others....for their good, to build them up.  God bless!

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