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Intentional Acts of Kindness

Ephes. 4:32 

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And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 

A year after his father died, Joe Foss dropped out of college. Holding down a couple of odd jobs, running the family farm and attending college was just too much for him-something had to give, so he quit school. When his younger brother was old enough to take over the farm, Joe returned to Sioux Falls College and later the University of South Dakota. Along the way, he was able to save up enough cash to take flying lessons and in his Senior year he joined the Marines.

He was an old man of 26 by then, though he'd earned his wings, the military thought he was too old to be a fighter pilot. Eventually he worked his way up into a carrier group and a few months after Pearl Harbor he got his first combat assignment-Guadalcanal. In six weeks he shot down 23 Japanese planes, within a few more months he'd shot down his 26th plane and was presented with the Medal of Honor. Malaria forced him to leave the Pacific theater in 1944 and the next year he left the military.

Foss was a hero in anybody's book. But there's more to his story.

He worked several jobs in the private sector before running for public office for the first time. He served as a member of the South Dakota House from 1949-50 and 53-54, before becoming the governor of South Dakota in 1955 for two, two-year terms.

Sounds like a lot of accomplishments for just one man, doesn't it? But there's more. After leaving public life, he became the first Commissioner of the AFL and served in that capacity before the AFL & NFL merged and the creation of the Super Bowl. He went on to serve as the host for ABC's The American Sportsman and the host of his own syndicated series, "The Outdoorsman: Joe Foss."

Today, he and his wife Donna live in Arizona and Joe travels around the world giving speeches about "leadership, patriotism and his enduring faith in God."


An impressive man. But the reason I'm telling you his story today has little to do with these accomplishments. Let me explain what impresses me about Joe Foss.

When Dave Beckwith was in fourth grade, he delivered newspapers to businesses and the government housing near the airport in Pierre, South Dakota. One afternoon he was pedaling toward the airport when he hit a pot hole, crashed his bike and spilled the newspapers all over the highway. 

Embarrassed but not hurt, he got up and started gathering the newspapers when a black limousine slowed to a stop, and a man got out of the back seat to help.

"Are you OK?" He asked as he began assisting Dave. The kind man stayed long enough to help Dave pick up the papers and make certain that he was OK.

Dave couldn't help but notice his license plate number when he drove away: "1." South Dakota Governor Joe Foss was the man that stopped to help. "I knew nothing about his political views," Dave said, "but he was a man of remarkable kindness, and a hero to a nine-year-old boy!" (Fresh Illustrations

An intentional act of kindness. A small thing that made a big impression on a little boy. An act that has impacted Pastor Beckwith's life and ministry.

Kindness is really a simple thing, it doesn't take much to be kind to one another, it is a principle that even a child can grasp. Last Sunday Night I walked into the Nursery during Choir practice to say Hi to Susan when little Delaney Reeves greeted me. She started to tell me about her baby brother Hunter that will be born soon, and then she added, "And when he is born I'm going to share my toys with him."

See, it's not a tough concept. It is as simple as getting out of a limo and helping a nine-year-old boy pick up Newspapers or offering to share your toys with a baby brother. It is getting someone else a glass of Ice Tea when you're up or phoning in the middle of the day just to say, "I love you." It is treating your parents like "people" being home by your curfew or picking up your room without being asked. Its just small stuff. If it is so small, why can't we get it right? 
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