28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”
32 The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered with wisdom, he said to him, “You aren’t far from God’s kingdom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34, Common English Bible)
Yesterday we talked about Drew Dudley, a guy giving away lollipops to people during college registration. While jokingly playing “matchmaker” with his supply of lollipops, he was just out having some fun. He had no idea they would take him seriously. The girl found Dudley on campus four years later. She tells Dudley that she and the guy started dating and had kept dating all four years of school. She tells Dudley he had made a difference for at least one student, her. That day, she was ready to give up before she ever started. Drew and that lollipop made a huge difference for her. And the biggest part of the story? Drew Dudley could not remember the encounter with the girl and her now boyfriend?
About six years ago, every Wednesday I went to the local elementary school and listened to kids read all day. Most of them were behind grade level and the teacher thought reading to me might get them move closer to grade level.
When Julius’ teacher came in, she said she was going to send him to me. He was three grade levels behind in reading. For the whole school year, I listened to Julius read. We would talk and he told me he was afraid he would be taken from his family. He and his six siblings lived with grandma. His mom was in jail. No one knew who his dad was. The two of us just talked.
One day after I had finished listening his teacher came in to take Julius came in to take Julius back to class. She sent the boy back to class, She said, “I want you to know how much you have helped him.” She reminded me that at the beginning of the year, he was three grade levels behind. At the end of the year he was back on grade level. I told the teacher that Julius’ improvement had more to do with her than with me. She was with him five days a week. I was with him for an hour.
She said he also went from being a behavioral problem to a model student. She was convinced it was because he had a positive male role model. That was something new to his life.
I knew what I was doing mattered. If it didn’t I would have found something different to do with my Wednesdays.
Steve was a student in my government and economics classes. I also had him in my psychology and sociology classes. Steve said he wanted to be a psychologist when he finished school.
He was the first student I met at that school. Once school started I saw some problems in his writing. It wasn’t a huge deal but he and others struggled with their writing. Because of that struggle, I had them write more than I might have otherwise. One day, write after I had given them a writing assignment, Steve asked, “Have you ever thought about being an English teacher and writing coach?”
Steve and I talked one day this week. Steve is the only one of my former students that I talk with. I wanted to see how he felt about his first year of college went. He said it was great. He was particularly thankful that I had pushed him in both of my classes. He said, “Whether you know it or not, you have made a difference for me.
Lollipop moments are those times when we make a difference with those around us. I am thrilled to hear someone say I made a difference. That is what I do. That is how we do it. I love talking about how these kids have touched my life. I pray the mark I leave behind is a changed life. Changed lives are my goal in life.
So, what can we do to impact lives and change lives to figure out ways we can go out, and with God’s help have lollipop moments.
- Volunteer to tutor math or reading at your local school
- Clean up a park
- Buy a meal and give it to a homeless person
- Give a homeless person get clothes from a thrift shop. Help twice.
- Sew blankets for kids in the foster-care system
- Smile at someone who is obviously having a bad day
- Work with an elementary school teacher to have a class birthday party during school one day and celebrate everyone’s birthday.
- Go to the local nursing home and do something directly with residents
- Go to the local nursing home sometime that isn’t Christmas
- Teach someone something.
I have barely scratched the surface of what these moments might look like. You can make a difference. It doesn’t have to be big it just needs to show you care.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved