January 29, 2012

In just a few days, some school child in the under-twelve group demonstrating the shiniest sterling character of the month–helpfulness–would be a star! Announced by the principal and featured on the office bulletin board, the Character Count kid got more fanfare than those on the honor roll. Competition was fierce!

At lunchtime, just as Robert’s orange fish crackers slipped out of the bag and speckled the concrete around a picnic table outside, his brother dived on his belly and slid to the center of the cracker spill. “Wait, Robert! I’ll help you!” Billy promised.

In no time and without a broom, the seven-year-old tidied up the large area while a crowd of envious boys and girls watched Billy in action.

“Wow!” Peggy told her friend, “Lucky Billy! I wish I got to the crackers first.”

“Teacher! Teacher! Look what I did!” Billy exclaimed soon after. He pointed to the clean concrete. “Robert spilled his fishy crackers. I helped him clean them all up by eating them!”

Billy’s motivation for his helpfulness was to be the star of the month—and he got a snack, at the same time!

What had started as a good idea had snowballed into little people doing things mostly for the attention.

Jesus himself said, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1.

Being helpful in secret? That is truly the character that counts.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles, check her weekly blog weekly on Button-to-God.com.]