I met them at the baseball field in Vestavia, Ala., where their son is our grandson’s teammate. Something was said about her difficulty learning English, so I asked where she was from.
“Moldova,” she said. “I’m Russian.”
I told them I’d had a student at Judson College from Moldova named Anna, and then I struggled to pronounce her Russian surname.
“Oh,” Anastasia said, “Anna is my sister.”
What a coincidence the only two Russians I know are sisters, one in Alabama and one in Louisiana, and 10 years after leaving the college!
I remembered a job interview I had years ago in Birmingham when I was surprised that the director of human resources was a former junior high classmate (in ancient times we had junior high before middle school was invented).
There’s an adage about being nice to others on the way up because you’ll meet the same people on the way down. It’s amazing how often old acquaintances can come back into our lives.
It’s good to be nice to people who may offer us a job one day, but there are other reasons to be nice to people.
One reason is that we might not know the struggles they’re going through.
I thought about this a few weeks ago when coming home from the hospital. I spent one night after surgery and was discharged with equipment attached for a few days. I asked my wife to drive slowly since I was in pain. The drive home was only four miles, but a driver in a giant truck let us know twice with long horn blasts how distraught he was that we crept along. Perhaps he thought we were geezers making our weekly Saturday outing to pick up supplies!
The word for “encourager” in the New Testament is the same word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit— “the one called to your side.” This means that encouragement can be among the most godly things we do since those we meet may be experiencing pain or loss.
Another reason we should be kind to others is because of a surprising exhortation in the book of Hebrews: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). I sometimes chide myself with this verse when I get frustrated by panhandlers on the street asking for money. The better side of my nature reminds me this may be a divine appointment to minister to an angel and thus demonstrate my love for God.
A third reason to be kind is that we live in debt. The Apostle Paul reminded us to be charitable toward others since this is exactly what God did for us (Ephesians 4:32).
“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.