Police were called to a local Target in Shelton, Connecticut to break up a fight. Officer Michael Castillo arrived and noticed a couple of kids in the area of the reported fight and asked, “Hey, are you guys fighting?” The kids said, “No, we’re friends.” Officer Castillo then noticed one of their bikes was broken and needed repair. Someone snapped a picture of Officer Castillo helping these kids and posted it online. The picture became an instant success all over the internet because it’s a story of something good happening in this world.
When Officer Castillo was asked about the event, he simply said,” I just saw the kids, they needed some help, I helped the kids.” I want to introduce to us an idea that Officer Castillo demonstrated when he helped a couple of kids with a broken bike and it’s called the “just because” mentality. Before I describe more about this idea, I want to share another story you may be more familiar with.
Jesus was asked by a lawyer what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked the man how he reads the Law, to which he says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The man was correct in his statement and Jesus simply says, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). The man, not genuinely seeking to learn anything from Jesus, presses the matter more with his questioning and asks, “And who is my neighbor?” to which Jesus gives us a parable (a simple story meant to teach a lesson).
You may already know this parable as it’s quite popular from the pulpit and in Sunday school classes, but I want you to look at it with fresh eyes and not quickly read over it because it’s familiar. The parable of the Good Samaritan goes like this:
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he had passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side (Luke 10:30-32).
The man who fell among the robbers is assumed to be a Jew, for Jesus is speaking to a Jewish audience. The priest walks up on the man who was robbed, stripped and beaten, and instead of doing his priestly duty, decided to not love his neighbor and pass by on the other side. The Levite walks up on this man lying on the road and instead of listing to the Law, which he knew full well, decided to walk by this Jew who needed help. Let’s see what happens next in our story:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii (about two days wage for a laborer) and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:33-37).
Here’s the simple true about Jews and Samaritans: they didn’t like each other. In their culture, it would have been unthinkable for a Samaritan to help a Jew, so Jesus makes the audacious point that to love your neighbor involves showing care and compassion for them, even to those you would not normally have any relationship with.
The Samaritan in this story shows mercy, care, and compassion for this person that he would not normally associate with. The Samaritan demonstrated the “just because” mentality. The “just because” mentality is as simple as it sounds. There is no hidden agenda or fine print; doing something “just because” is an outpouring of the work Christ has done in you and you want to demonstrate that same outpouring to this world.
Our Outreach Ministry team here at RCC has come up with a “just because” card. Basically, it’s a simple card with a simple message. Most of us eat out at least once a week, and sometimes more depending on how busy our schedules look. I don’t know how many of you have been at a drive-thru and the car in front of you has paid for your meal, but it’s one of the coolest things ever! It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way because you don’t know the week the person behind you has had—maybe they’re in a custody battle with their ex or maybe they just received some terrible news, or maybe it’s just a bad week for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to brighten someone’s day just by giving them a small “just because” gesture? I would like to encourage you to try this at least once. Ask the person who takes your money if you could also pay for the car behind you, and then ask if they can give the car behind you a “just because” card.
This “just because” gesture can be used anywhere. You can try it at a sit down restaurant where you just ask to pay the bill of the couple you noticed who have the two young kids and it just seems like they need a pick-me-up. You could pay the bill of the single mother of two or the elderly man or woman who appears to be dining alone. There really is no limit to doing things “just because.”
We have placed RCC’s name, address, website, and mission statement on all of the “just because” cards so everyone will know that there is a place in their community that has a “just because” mentality. The “just because” mentality is not about us but all about His kingdom. We want to pack the house every Sunday because we want the whole world to know the love of Jesus, not because we want to be famous. It’s not about our fame, it’s all about God’s glory and if we can make God known by doing something “just because,” then let’s not limit ourselves to what we can accomplish through simple acts of generosity. Anyone can do something “just because.” You don’t need a degree or the charisma of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments or Robert Downey Jr. in The Avengers to have the “just because” mentality. You can be the shyest person in the room and even still, you can do something “just because.”
We will have both doors stocked with “just because” cards and we urge everyone to take however many you think you’ll need for the week. We also want to encourage everyone to look for “just because” moments throughout your week. It’s not about us but all about His glory. Let’s make Him known.
Luke 10:25-37 / 1 Corinthians 10:31 / Colossians 3:17 / Romans 5:8 / John 3:16