“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love; pleasure bestowed on a grateful mind was never sterile, but generally gratitude begets reward” (St. Basil).
I heard this quoted on an old episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show earlier this evening. It jumped off the screen the moment I heard it.
That’s the key– planting a lifetime’s worth of courtesy, kindness, and gratitude. You never go wrong if you steep yourself and those around you in these virtues.
True, the Gospel comes in words as well as actions, but you cultivate the ground for the gospel seed to take root with the courtesy that leads to friendship, the kindness that leads to love, and the gratitude that leads to reward.
These days, most people are too impatient for these virtues. They want microwave relationships and instant gratification. I still believe that the best things worth having are the things you work for and work on over a lifetime. They never come quickly or easily.
The old adage is true: people really don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. All the knowledge in the world is useless outside of the context of relationship.
Evangelism is of no good if you only see people as potential converts and not as flesh and blood real-life human beings with stories to tell and hearts that break. Sharing your faith doesn’t work if all you’re after is the conversion and not the relationship.
Regardless, courtesy and kindness and gratitude are never wasted. You alway reap a reward when you sow these because you always end up better for them.
Oh and The Dick Van Dyke Show is classic television at its very best. It’s also on Netflix. I highly recommend it if you missed it the first time around (like those of us who were born too late).