March 2014 Letter from the Pastor

From the Associated Press we read:                 
In Oakbrook, Illinois, kindness will not go unrewarded.  At least, not if village administrator Jerry Elsner catches you being kind.

Elsener has launched a campaign to give $100 saving bonds to the kindest, nicest people he can find. The plan is to give away a bond each month, selecting a kind person he encounters as he visits Oakbrook Terrace’s restaurants and businesses.  

Elsner’s monthly pilgrimage isn’t completely altruistic.  His hope is that whatever publicity his kindness campaign generates will in some way offset other publicity Oakbrook “Terrace has garnered recently.  The village’s employees have filed a lawsuit against the city, two aldermen nearly came to blows in a city meeting, and an ex-mayor has been sentenced for tax evasion.

It kind of irks me to read this article.  What is the village administrator really achieving?  It reminds me of a magic show I attended in India.  A supposed hypnotist called for volunteers, and a group of young men rushed forward.  After he had “hypnotized” them he had them do various antics.  Finally he told them to take off their clothes.  The funny thing was that they were vying for positions in front of each other to more dramatically take off their shirts and pants.  If they were truly hypnotized, why would they try to stand in such a way that the audience would better be able to see them?  Obviously it was a show, and they had been hired to pretend to be hypnotized.  And, of course, they stopped before they took off too much.

Similarly, really good people don’t want to be caught in the act of being good.  If they want to be caught – they are fakes.  They are not in to it to be rewarded.  They are not motivated by recognition, or $100 Bonds.  The whole idea cheapens the good acts, and makes a mockery of all goodness.  Goodness is not bought and sold.  

Yet we have all been recipients of somebody’s kind, good acts.  We may have our favorite stories of how we have been kind to others.  Paul invites us to keep it up – be good, even when you see no reward.

  November 2017  
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