After a particularly contentious presidential campaign, we all could use some uplifting news—a story that reflects the best in Christian character and charity, rather than baser elements of our human nature. From Baton Rouge comes a marvelous story of an 8-year-old girl in Bossier City, who saw the needs of others and did something to help them recover.
Taylor Henry, moved by seeing the devastation caused by historic flooding, used her sewing talents to make tissue holders as a way to raise money to help residents of south Louisiana. Her goal was to raise about $1,000, but God, as in the parable of the talents, blessed her efforts with a seven-fold increase. As word spread, orders poured in from the local Bossier City-Shreveport area and from places as far away as California, West Virginia and Canada. She received so many orders for the travel-size tissue holders, in fact, that family and friends had to pitch in about two hours every day to assemble fabric squares into small pouches.
On Oct. 9, Taylor and her parents, who attend a Baptist church in the northern part of the Bayou State, presented a check for more than $7,000 during a service at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Baptist Message reported. The funds will purchase sheetrock to rebuild houses and churches there.
“I felt horrible for how bad the flooding was, but felt glad I got to help the flood victims physically in their homes and by raising money for them,” she said. “The donation I brought may not be the biggest donation but it was able to save a couple of houses by buying materials,” she humbly added. “I really think God gave me this idea and He is the reason for it all.
Proud of her “little 8-year old and her big heart,” her mom remarked, “It was heartwarming to see so many kindhearted individuals come together for a common cause.”
While Taylor’s kindness and Donald Trump’s election are completely unrelated, the unity that her act brings provides a refreshing contrast to the sordid and divisive display we’ve witnessed recently from those who would lead us. For many of us, Nov. 8 couldn’t get here soon enough—not because we were eager to cast a vote, but to put an end to a barrage of dispiriting political ads, demeaning remarks, name-calling, suggestive innuendos, outright accusations and jarring revelations. It’s been a downright disgusting spectacle as candidates for our nation’s highest office spewed venomous arguments over who is worse and why—at times seemingly degrading themselves to playground taunts of “them’s fightin’ words.”
The political landscaped began to quake last Tuesday evening as Trump, defying odds, edged closer and closer to the needed 270 electoral votes, and pundits and pollsters gasped. Meanwhile, Kentuckians felt another tremor as the House Speaker lost his reelection bid and other Democrats saw seats slip away. For the first time in 90 years, Republicans gained an upper hand in the State House, effectively achieving a trifecta of the Governor’s office and both Chambers.
Now that national and state elections are over, maybe we can collectively take a deep breath. Our political process regrettably doesn’t bring out the best in anyone’s character—for neither the candidates, nor us. Isn’t it time we put a stop to this madness? After all, it’s our own Christian character, our civility, our witness, our own humanity that we’ve allowed to be compromised. Certainly, we should demand better from those who would lead us. But shouldn’t we, as Christians, also expect better of ourselves?
Taylor’s kindness and compassion calls us forward to a better way: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another…,” (Ephesians 4:32). More than empty words, she models a higher standard of service to others.
We need never lose sight of fact that whatever the outcome of an election, we should be about serving others with kindness and Christ-like compassion. Moreover, unbelievers are watching how we treat one another and speak about others, and a failure to model Christ’s love could very well cause someone to refuse to listen to our witness for Christ for years to come.
No doubt, significant changes are on the way. Most social conservatives and evangelicals welcome a new direction. But if the popular vote indicates anything, it is that we are a deeply divided people, and as some wake up to that change, they may be gravely concerned, fearful, even angry. As those who belong to Jesus, we should long to bring reconciliation and healing to an anxious nation by exhibiting grace, hope and peace. Make every effort to let them know that God loves them, too—through your kindness.
Taylor’s kindness is helping build temporal homes; through Christ’s love, we can be helping build eternal homes.