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Sunday Sermon November 14, 2010 Good Will Initiative

Over the past month I have been working on a personal project that I call “The Good Will Initiative. This project is based on several influences which first and foremost was a movie called “Pay it Forward.” For those that have not seen it I highly recommend it. The basic story is about a kid who was given an assignment to find a way to change the world and put it in motion. Where most classmates did the usual recycling things he comes up with this plan to help 3 people who could not help themselves and those 3 people could not pay him a favor they were supposed to go out and help 3 other people and so on. My project was not as dynamic and in many cases the subjects did not even know who did it. What I did was this: Due to an excess in received funds I used that money and saved it on a special card. While I was out at a gas station or restaurant I would watch for certain people. Not the ones that I thought had financial issues but the ones that were having a bad day or just looks worn out. As they were approaching the counter I would tell the clerk that I was paying for what ever they were getting and to just tell them it was covered. The most wonderful feelings were displayed on their faces that someone had done such a nice thing and not asked for anything in return. At one restaurant I overheard a couple celebrating their anniversary and I paid for their meal. And several other situations that were similar.

All in all the responses were joy and gratitude with some skeptics in the mix but that is to be expected in a society where we are told there are no free lunches. Why do this then if I am getting nothing out of it? Because, I am, the joy of giving to me is a great feeling. Doing thing at a time when it is not expected to give such as Christmas or birthdays. Sending the wife flowers on a Wednesday means more than on an anniversary. Why else did I start this project? Everyone knows about displaced anger were something bad happens to you, you take it out on someone else, they pass it down etc. Well what would happen if it was a positive act. Look at driving down a road, someone cuts you off so you cut someone else off (speaking more of letting someone merge into your lane.) Now pay attention the next time someone slows down and lets you in, you do the same. At times these are subconscious acts that you don’t even notice until you start watching for it. What does our creed teach us? I shall never seek so much to be consoled as to console; and for it is in giving that we receive.

So I challenge each of you to keep an eye open. Watch for opportunities to help shift peoples hearts. Slow down and let someone in. buy someone a drink at the gas station but don’t stand around and let them thank you for I feel if you do it will break the cycle. If you do something and allow someone to thank you afterwards then their return on kindness has been completed. If they can not thank you then subconsciously they will usually find someone else to help out. And so on. I believe that if enough people start shifting away from their self serving attitudes and begin helping others then soon we could see a change in world attitude.