My children’s sermon to-day has to do with a legend. A legend is a story that has come down to us from the olden times, but which cannot be proved to be true. This legend is about Christ.
It tells of how one day He was walking down a street in Jerusalem and saw a company of people gathered about a dead dog in the street. Now, city dogs in the land where Christ lived are not petted as they are in our own country. They act as scavengers, and live on whatever they can pick up. They are shaggy and dirty and yellow. The people stone them and kick them, and do not call them by kind names.
So the people who had gathered about this dog were making unkind remarks about it, saying how ugly it was, when Christ came up, and looking at the dog, He said, “But do you see what beautiful, even, white teeth he has?” Then, it is said, the people knew this must be Christ, who could find something to praise even in a dog like that.
But that was the way Christ always dealt with people. He always saw something good in them. And when people knew that Christ saw something good in them, they tried to live up to what He saw, and to be good.
You remember how Zaccheus, the little, short man who had been robbing the people by collecting too much tax-money, climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Christ pass by. Christ told him that He was going to take dinner with him. And when Christ dined with him, Zaccheus felt that Christ thought he was better than he was, and he became so ashamed of what he had been doing that he went and gave the money back.
And Christ’s rule is a good rule for us to follow. If we wish people to be good, we must look for the good things in them. If we expect them to be good, they will try to be good. There is a jailer in Chicago who, when a man has served his term in jail, gives him a letter of recommendation so that he can get a job. And the men who get these letters are ashamed to do wrong and to get into jail again, because of the disappointment they will cause the jailer who believes in them.
A girl once said to her mother, who was always finding something good instead of bad to say of people, “Mother, I believe you would have something good to say of the devil.”
“Well,” said her mother, “we might all admire his perseverance.”
Try to see how many good things you can see in people. It’s the best game of all to play.
A boy recently answered an advertisement of a certain firm in New York which wanted an office-boy. He went to the office, and as he was a bright, neat-looking boy, he made a good impression upon the manager. The manager liked him and told him to report for work the following morning.
The boy was about to leave the office in great glee, when the manager called him back and asked him to write his name, in order that he might see whether or no he was a good writer. The boy wrote his name in such a miserable scrawl that the manager could hardly read it, and he told the boy that he was very sorry, but he would be obliged to cancel his agreement, and could not take him on.