Showing kindness doesn’t just change the lives of those who receive it. It also changes the lives of those who show it.
The Discussion Starter:
In Olivet, Michigan there’s a middle school boy named Keith Orr who has a learning disability. But Keith is dearly loved by the guys on his school football team. That’s why, during a game on October 5, 2013, the players hatched a plan to put Keith in the game and make him a hero.
Quarterback Parker Smith handed the ball off to running back Sheridan Hedrick who raced toward the end zone with no defenders between him and the goal line. But on the 1 yard line, he dropped to the turf…to the groans of many adults in the crowd.
Now, everything was ready.
Enter 95-pound Keith Orr. His teammates put him in the backfield, snapped the ball, handed it to him, and then built a human shield around him as they pushed him across the goal line. Touchdown!
But this touchdown didn’t just change the scoreboard. It changed lives. Let’s take a look why.
The Video Clip:
Click the following link for the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ejh_hb15Fc
I get why the wide receiver, Justice Miller, was a little teary-eyed during the interview with the CBS news team. Not only did his team score a touchdown, and not only did his friend Keith get to do it, but it also changed his own life. He recognized in that moment that showing kindness wasn’t just for the benefit of those around him (like Keith). He realized that when he showed kindness to others, it changed his life, too! That’s what I want us to focus on during our discussion time. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about what happens to you and me when we show kindness to others.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite football team.
- ASK A FEW: According to the video clip, why did the football players want to do this act of kindness for Keith?
- ASK A FEW: How did Keith feel after his team helped him score a touchdown? Why do you think it was such a big deal for Keith?
- ASK A FEW: It’s no surprise that Keith received a blessing from the football players’ act of kindness. But what might be a little strange is the fact that the players themselves received a blessing, too. What was it? (Leaders – This is a key question for the discussion. Justice Miller talked about smiling and being happy for Keith. But he also talked about the decision to give Keith the ball being a turning moment for him in how he considers others in the future.)
- ASK A FEW: Who else might have been touched by these players’ act of kindness? (Leaders – Keith’s parents, the coaches, the opposing football team, spectators, etc.)
- ASK A FEW: Let’s make it even more personal. How did seeing these boys’ act of kindness to Keith impact YOU?
Read the following passage:
- John 6:1-14 (NIV)
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
- ASK A FEW: According to the story, what act of kindness did the boy do on behalf of so many others?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think it made the people feel who received food because of his kindness?
- ASK A FEW: On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being little and 10 being great, how loving and sacrificial was the boy’s gesture of sharing his food?
- ASK A FEW: What did the boy get out of his act of kindness? (Leaders – Without a doubt, he got more food than he would have had if he had not shared it. Further, he got a really cool story to tell about Jesus. And third, he even got the benefit of knowing he’d helped others.)
- ASK A FEW: Why is it that kindness can make such an impact on everyone involved in it, those receiving it and those giving it (and even those just witnessing it)?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever been shown kindness in such a way that it changed your life to some degree? If so, would you quickly tell us the story?
- ASK A FEW: Now flip it. Have you ever showed kindness to someone just hoping to be a blessing to them…and been blessed in the process? If so, can you share briefly?
- ASK A FEW: Is there anyone in your life that could use some kindness right now? Who is it?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: How will you show kindness to someone this week?
It’s hard to watch the clip of those middle school football players and not get a little emotional. What they did for their buddy Keith was awesome. In fact, Keith even said their act of kindness made him feel great! And Keith probably doesn’t get many opportunities to feel that great.
I love how the boys shared that it was their idea to help Keith. No one put them up to it. It was their own doing; they did it simply because they loved him. How cool!
But the ironic thing is, though the football players did it to be kind to Keith, it was a few of them who received the biggest blessing at the end of the day. You heard one of the young man say how doing this kind deed for Keith made him move from only thinking about himself to thinking about others. In other words, “Now I get that it’s not all about me.” He was now able to see how important it was to think of others and serve them first.
That’s what happens when we show kindness to others. We see others the way God wants us to see them. We see them as people we love, who we are willing to make sacrifices for, and care for on an ongoing basis. There are so many reasons to be kind to others, but the fact that God uses our kindness to others as an opportunity to bless us is definitely a great one!
Let me say, though, we don’t show kindness to get something in return. That’s not how God works. I think He chose to bless those football players and that boy with the food because neither of them were expecting anything in return. They were just helping out someone they saw in need.
So, let me challenge you in a simple way. Be on the lookout for someone you can be kind to this very week. Yes, it’s a guarantee you can be a blessing to someone else, but you might grow as a result, too.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.