This is the story of two neighbors, Sam and Jed. One day Jed was mowing his lawn. As he got to the row of small trees that marked the line between his yard and Sam's yard, he decided to mow a little bit of Sam's lawn just to be nice. As he mowed, he thought, Wouldn't it be nice to keep going? Before long he had mowed all of Sam's yard!
A few days later Sam was spreading fertilizer on his lawn. He was almost done when he remembered what Jed had done a few days earlier. So when he got to Jed's lawn he kept going, until he had fertilized Jed's yard along with his own.
When Jed arrived home from his tae kwon do lesson, his wife told him what Sam had done. Hmm, Jed thought. That was a really nice thing for Sam to do. After all, mowing Sam's lawn only took a little extra gas. But fertilizer can be downright expensive.
The next weekend Jed decided it was time to clean out all the leaves and dirt that had collected in his gutters. As he worked, he came up with a plan to repay Sam's "fertilizer kindness." Jed figured that since he had all the cleaning stuff already out, he would just go ahead and clean Sam's gutters.
Later that month Sam was doing some gardening and mulching. When he finished, he still had some mulch left. So he sneaked over to Jed's yard and spread the mulch around his neighbor's trees and flowers.
Over the course of the next several years, Sam and Jed continued their efforts to outdo each other's kindness. They became good friends. And their yards and homes were the best-looking places in their neighborhood.
Before long a funny thing started to happen. Jed's mowing madness had infected the rest of the neighborhood, and people started imitating Sam's and Jed's kindness. And the whole block started to look cleaner and prettier and friendlier.
Sam and Jed are still doing kind things for each other, and they probably will for the rest of their lives. After all, they don't plan to move anywhere else, because they figure they could never find nicer neighbors.
REFLECT: In today's Bible reading, how did Nahash's kindness affect David's relationship with Hanun? Why do you think David reacted that way? How did kindness affect Sam and Jed's friendship? How did it affect their lives? Do you think all neighbors would respond like Sam did? Which do you think kindness is like: a wad of putty thrown against a wall, which sticks where it hits, or a rubber ball thrown against a wall, which bounces back to the person who threw it? Carry a rubber ball in your pocket or purse today to remind you to be kind to those around you.
PRAY: "Lord, help me to see opportunities to be kind to others today, especially as I... [go to school, attend band practice, walk through my neighborhood, etc.]."