Tag Archives: compassion

The Gerber Boy

Story of the Day for Saturday August 20, 2011

The Gerber Boy

                      Filled with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. 

                                                                   Mark 1:41

 The Raymond Dunn, Jr. Memorial Field is a baseball field that is, not surprisingly, named after Raymond Dunn, Jr. What is curious, however, is that Raymond never played baseball nor had the slightest interest in the game.


Raymond died in January of 1995, and many feel it might have been better if he had never been born. Oxygen deprivation caused severe retardation. He was born blind with an undersized brain. His complications grew with his age. He never learned to walk or talk. He was racked with twenty seizures a day and had asthma. Even after he reached ten years of age, he barely weighed over thirty pounds.


Raymond’s serious troubles began when his parents discovered he had severe allergies to all foods – except for one special food manufactured by Gerber baby foods.

Because of the high production costs and lack of demand, Gerber announced they were discontinuing production of MBF, an expensive meat-based formula.

When Raymond’s mom heard the news, she frantically bought up every jar of the food she could find.  She told Gerber of her plight and they – with approval from the FDA – gave her their remaining outdated stock.


Eventually, the discontinued brand of Gerber food that was keeping Raymond alive was almost depleted. Gerber agreed to reveal their formula to any company willing to make it. No takers.

When Raymond’s plight was announced to the members of Research and Development at the Fremont, Michigan plant, they volunteered to help. Without pay and on their own time, they set up production to produce the discontinued Gerber food for one person.  Raymond Dunn, Jr. became known as “The Gerber Boy.”


The volunteers at Gerber kept Raymond alive for another ten years before he died of his complications. I suppose many consider it a waste of time and resources to dedicate so much for the help of a kid who was so severely retarded. But that is a matter you’ll have to take up with the employees at Gerber. I suspect that they would say that helping Raymond was one of the most moving and inspiring things they had ever done.


The compassionate volunteers at Gerber remind us that God’s love is not limited to healthy over-achievers. We are not saved because we are strong and good, but because we trust in the One who cares for the helpless.


And Raymond’s life was not a waste. The compassion he evoked led to the construction of a recreational site and a house to provide care to medically fragile adults.

Compassion always baffles our cold, cynical analysis of what is valuable in life.


                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Best Bad Call

Story of the Day for Thursday June 9, 2011

The Best Bad Call


                      If your adversary is hungry, give him something to eat. 

                                                                           Romans 12:20


The decision of the umpires was later found to be in error, but I’m so happy that they got it wrong.


Central Washington University was hosting Western Oregon University in 2008 in the last game of the season. The winner would earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament in Division II woman’s softball.

Western Oregon sent Sara Tucholsky to the plate. With two runners on base she hit a home run – the first one of her career. She was so jubilant that she forgot to step on first base. Realizing her mistake, she spun around so quickly that she tore her ACL in her knee.  As she lay writhing in pain, her teammates were helpless. If they touched her, that would constitute assisting a base runner and she would be called out.

After conferring on the rules, an umpire told Western Oregon’s head coach, Pam Knox, that a pinch runner could come in for her, but it would be credited as a single, and her home run would be taken away.


It broke the coach’s heart to erase the only home run of Sara’s career, but she was clearly unable to tag the bases on her own.

At that moment, however, Mallory Holtman, the star player for the opposing team ran up to an umpire and asked, “Would it be okay if we carried her around and she touched each bag?” The ump shrugged and said there was no rule against it.

So, Holtman, and her teammate, Liz Wallace, gingerly picked her up and started walking her around the bases. When they came to a base, they would gently lower her good leg and tap the base with Sara’s foot.

As the three girls rounded the bases, the crowd gave them all a standing ovation.

This caring act for their opponent ended up costing Mallory and Liz’s team the game – ending their hopes of getting into the tournament. But no one seemed to care.


Mallory Holtman viewed Sara Tucholsky as her opponent . . . until she was overcome by compassion for her need.

We are so easily angered by the behavior of our enemies. But what if we focused more on their hurts. Their needs. What if, when we noticed how hungry they were, we gave them some of our food?


The NCAA later said the umpire’s ruling was in error. A substitute could have run the bases and Sara would’ve been awarded a home run.

I’m so glad, however, that the umpire got it wrong. Far more important than a correct ruling was what happened to our hearts when two brave women helped their opponent when she was hurting.

                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Get Rid of the Garbage

Story of the Day for Tuesday June 7, 2011

Get Rid of the Garbage


                   Get rid of all bitterness and rage, and anger and shouting, and cursing and any kind of evil.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, showing grace to each other, just as in Christ God showed grace to you. 

                                                                       Ephesians 4:31-32



So, how do we take control of our anger?

For starters, let’s realize that anger does not control us.  We like to say, “You make me so angry,” but no one makes us angry.   We choose to become angry because of our own pride or impatience or selfishness.


Secondly, be careful about the environment you choose.  Have you ever watched other groups of people and noticed how they tend to adopt similar habits of behaving?  Though it is much easier to notice in other people, we all do the same thing.  That is why Proverbs 22 says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man.  Do not associate with someone who is easily angered, or you might learn his ways.”


Third, don’t resort to cheap fixes.  Find the source.

Let’s suppose my house reeks from rotting garbage.  What can I do?  I could open a window and let in some fresh air.  Good idea, right? And what would that do?  Besides being unpleasant to my neighbors it would only lesson the stench temporarily.

There is another way to relieve the disgusting smell.  Get rid of the garbage!

The Bible tells us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”  God’s Word isn’t telling us to open a window, but to get rid of the garbage.

We are to replace anger with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

That’s great, but how?  The apostle Paul continues, by “showing grace to each other just as, in Christ, God showed grace to you.”

That’s the key.  If we are bitter it is because we haven’t dealt with our own guilt.  Let God forgive you.  He’s not mad at you.   He has taken all his anger for the injustice of our sin on Jesus.   People who have accepted this kind of love from God are well on their way to laying down their anger.


Years ago, a pastor told us about visiting one of his members.  As she recounted a grievance about someone from years ago, the pastor expressed surprise that she could even remember all the details that happened so many years ago.

She explained, “Oh, I keep a book.  Every time someone hurts me, I write it all down.”

The pastor then learned she had been keeping a record of grievances for 25 years.  After patiently explaining the beauty of our forgiveness by Christ, he told her she needed to take her book and immediately throw it in the fireplace.

She paused.  Then, with a sigh, her precious book was turned to ash.

They prayed. And then she smiled, because she knew she was free.


Led to the Truth

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 31, 2011

Led to the Truth


                   Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”  And they left their nets and followed him. 

                                                                         Matthew 4:20


Secretary of State, William Seward, negotiated with Russian officials. At four in the morning in March of 1867, he hammered out a treaty.  Russia agreed to sell some of their territory for about 2 pennies an acre.

Many critics were furious.  Horace Greeley, the famous journalist of the day, called the agreement “a dark deed done in the night.”  Soon the purchase was popularly dubbed “Seward’s Folly.”

Seward had just negotiated the purchase of over a half million square miles called Alaska.  The timber had no value – there were abundant forests much closer.  There were few profitable resources in fish and fur.  But Seward had the foresight to see the importance of Alaska from a diplomatic standpoint.  Relations between Russia and Great Britain were tense.  Seward bought Alaska, in part,  to ease international relations.

But here is the point: while Seward had good reasons to buy Alaska, he was totally ignorant of the best reasons: the gold and oil.  Today, Alaska has more natural resources than any other state in the Union, but Seward didn’t know that at the time.


When Peter and Andrew left their fishing trade to follow Jesus, they had no idea that his purpose was to be tortured to death as the sacrifice for our sins, and then rise from the dead, so we might have eternal life.   They had been following Jesus for quite some time before Jesus ever explained his true mission, and when he did, the disciples were either confused or upset!  Peter was shocked.  “This shall never happen to you, Lord!”

Wait a minute – if the disciples did not understand that Jesus would die and rise for our salvation until after the resurrection, then why did they follow him?

The disciples did not drop their fishing nets and follow a man they had never seen.  People so crowded the shore to hear this man that Jesus had to commandeer Peter’s boat and push off from shore to teach the multitudes.  Before Peter and the other disciples left everything to follow Jesus, they had already seen his compassion for the sick.  They had already witnessed his mercy to sinners.


Just as Seward made a sound decision, but ended up getting far more than he could imagine, so the disciples followed Jesus because he was changing their lives, but found out later that he would save their souls.

God doesn’t dump the whole truckload of Truth on us the minute we believe.

Jesus did not immediately reveal the whole truth of the Gospel to his own disciples.  Gradually and patiently, he led them to that truth.  If you feel guilty because you don’t immediately blurt out the plan of salvation when you first meet a new face, maybe your feelings of guilt are not coming from God.   Maybe, like Jesus, we can begin by demonstrating the compassion and mercy of the kingdom life. . . so that they may long for, and find, its source.

                                                                (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarr)