Happy 100th Birthday Captain Tom!
Thursday - April 30th
Today's Scripture to Read: John 13:33-35
British World War II veteran, Captain Tom Moore turns 100-years-old today (April 30th). He had planned to have a special celebration fitting a centenarian with family and friends, but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those plans. Because he is at high risk of coronavirus infection, Captain Tom (as he is called), has not been around other people and has no plans to celebrate with anyone in person today.
A few weeks ago, he challenged his friends and family to support a fundraiser he’d decided to do to raise 1,000 British Pounds to help the UK's National Health Service (NHS) fight COVID-19 and support the nurses and doctors on the front lines in that fight. How did he plan to raise the money? By doing a walk-a-thon in the final few weeks before he turned 100. With the United Kingdom under a stay-at-home mandate, where would he walk? Captain Tom decided to walk the length of the back yard flower garden at his home. People would donate a committed amount for every one of the 100 times he would complete the length of his garden. He finished his 100 garden walks a few days early, so he continued to walk, hoping people would continue to give.
The final tally of his fundraising efforts blew past his original goal of £1,000. A few days before his 100th birthday, with cards and donations still coming in, Captain Tom had received 125,000 cards. Donations were approaching £30 million ($37 million) to support the doctors and nurses of the National Health Service. The United Kingdom came together during a season of great division. Like the United States, British citizens, politicians, and pundits have argued over which approaches to fighting COVID-19 are best and which are the worst. But, with the whole nation focused on Captain Tom's continued bravery and tenacity, the British people have discovered a sense of unity they have not experienced in quite some time.
Jesus talked to His disciples about the importance of their unity. He emphasized with them just hours before His crucifixion that the mark that would identify them as Christ's followers the most was their unity and their love for each other. We often think that the twelve disciples were a homogeneous group of Jewish men. We believe they were all Jewish fishermen with the exact same backgrounds. They were not. Each disciple had little in common with more than three or four of the other disciples. The majority of the group held different political, social, and religious views. Some of them came from camps that outright hated each other. Asking them to do anything kind toward one another seemed to be asking the impossible.
Jesus made the promise that if these men with little in common could love each other after He had left them, others would see Him in their midst. "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35). That same promise remains true for us today. If we love those within God's family that are entirely different from us, even when we don't feel like it or want to, others will directly identify us with Jesus.
Which brother or sister in Christ have you struggled to love? Who is it that you could never show kindness and compassion to if it weren't for Jesus? Take time today to email them - to encourage them. Don't worry about whether they love you back; just do what Jesus said you should do. As each of us does that, watch God show others Jesus through us!
Happy Birthday, Captain Tom! Thank you for continuing to demonstrate commitment and sacrifice for the good of others!
When we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, others see Jesus in us!