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Paul wrote, “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)
When I was around six or seven the ice cream man would come in his white truck with the chimes ringing out — a signal for the children to come with their nickels and dimes to buy ice cream. I would hang back because there were no nickels and dimes to be had at my house. One day the ice cream man called me over and asked if that was my garden in our yard. I said yes, and then he told me that he loved carrots — and that if I would bring him some from our garden, he would give me ice cream. So I ran to the garden, pulled some carrots, and went back to collect my ice cream. We continued the carrots-for-ice cream exchange for a good while.
It was only later in my life that I realized what grace the ice cream man had shown me. He didn’t make me feel like I was taking a handout or that I was to be pitied. He treated me with dignity in front of my friends. Without my knowing it, he was showing me a love like God’s.
Simple acts of mercy can help someone get through a tough day or even a tough childhood. I have never forgotten the ice cream man’s gift to me. When we act with love toward others, we echo Paul’s words, “the greatest of these is love.”
Daily devotionals from The Upper Room