Being faithful, doing good
August 7 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Being faithful, doing good | Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Being faithful, doing good

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

How often do you do good deeds, as scouts are taught to do?

How often do you "practice random acts of kindness," as bumper stickers implore?

A recent study on "Altruism in Contemporary America" reveals that it's not your rural upbringing or your motherly empathy that lifts your propensity for good-deed-doing above the average, but your faith.

According to the National Opinion Research Center, men are just as likely as women to lend a helping hand. And, city slickers will give a hand up or a hand out just as quickly as country folk.

But church-going people - and especially those who pray regularly - are more inclined to be kind than those who don't attend.

The two-year study of 1,366 people reported that the average American does 109 good deeds in a given year. Those who never attend church report an average of 96 altruistic acts, while regular attenders reach out and touch someone 128 times in the same period. Those who pray, the report said, do three times as many good deeds as those who never pray.

I'm delighted to know that church folk are on the top of the heap.

I'm amazed that the heap is so short.

Even the league-leading 128 good deeds in a year works out to barely one helpful act in three days, while we have myriad opportunities to show kindness with every sunrise.

Of course, the poll only tracked 15 specific deeds. There must have been other beneficent acts that weren't on the list.

The most commonly practiced good deed, by the way, was spending time talking to someone who felt depressed. Spending time listening might be an even good-er deed.

How often do we smile at a tired cashier? Let another driver merge in front of us? Hold the door for the person behind?

How often do we contribute time or money to the poor, to missions, to children?

How often do we go out of our way to make our spouse's life a bit easier, or a friend's, or a stranger's?

If I couldn't find more than 128 good deeds to do in a year, I'd be ashamed. That's a good starting place, but church folk should aspire to more goodness than that.

That's why one of the first Bible verses we teach our children is Ephesians 4:32a: "Be ye kind one to another."

Every day.

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8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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