I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. It was the first I have spent with my wife’s side of our family. One of their traditions is that after all the eating is done, they all go to a movie together. This year was no different. Originally, we were going to see Disney’s Christmas Carol, but things didn’t work out, and we ended up seeing a movie called The Blind Side. I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t want to see it, but had no choice…so we went. Needless to say, it had a huge impact on me.
The movie, a true story, is about the NFL player Michael Oher . You may ask, why am I writing about this, so I’ll get to the point. Michael starts off as a poor, uneducated, homeless boy in the projects of Memphis, TN who by chance gets into a private Christian High School. His life changes when a wealthy family sees him walking home from school in the pouring rain one night after a basketball game, and they take him in. The wife convinces the husband to eventually adopt Michael and they make him a member of their family.
Football practice rolls around and Michael (because he is 6’4” and 310 lbs.) is quickly recruited for the football team. He had no idea how to play, but eventually gets the hang of it leading his team to state championship, landing a full ride to the University of Mississippi, and then being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens into the NFL. In 2009. Pretty extraordinary story, isn’t it?
I tell you all that, to maybe plant in your mind the point that blind-sided me after watching this movie: being nice and caring can literally change someone’s life. The Touey family didn’t have to stop and pick up Michael…they didn’t even know him. They didn’t have take him in, feed him, give him a place to sleep, and get to know him…but they did. I think James has some great words on this subject:
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17).
The point is this: if we bear the name Christian, we are Christ-followers. If we talk about doing things for people or say “I’ll pray for you” when we have the capacity to help, are we really following Jesus? Remember what Jesus said, church:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Maybe the next time God gives us an opportunity to be nice to someone, maybe we’ll do just that. Maybe by our kindness God can use us, broken vessels, to learn how to save a life. Just something to think about.