Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

I’m reminded of a story that I read which was told through the eyes of a popular American former athlete that traveled to the nation of Brazil.

This ex-athlete had come down for a few days of festivity, revelry and celebratory fun, but upon arriving in the nation, he was struck by all the poverty he encountered. He was especially impacted by the groups of homeless children who begged on the streets during the day, and slept in the doorways of buildings at night, huddled together on strips of cardboard.

The man said that he and his buddies got an idea: They rounded up a few kids and took them to a pizza place — the buffet-type of restaurant that keeps bringing food to your table. He said these half-dozen boys were mesmerized by the sheer volume of food laid out before them. They had never seen anything like it: the food kept coming and they kept eating.

The kids had a blast, and so did he and his friends. And he was glad to know that those young men slept on a full-stomach that night. The man said, “The whole thing cost less than $50 — and it’s the best money I spent in Brazil.”

Do you realize how many chances you’ll have this week to make this a perfect day? You can get a jump-start on it right now, maybe by walking in the next room or picking up the telephone. Or maybe you can take someone out to lunch or give an employee the day off or surprise someone with a special gift, or something else. If you put your mind to it, you’ll be amazed at the possibilities.

Jesus said, ”When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they can’t repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)

As we celebrate those we love on this week of Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the One whose perfect love gave all, redeemed us from our sin and selves, and continues to give grace and mercy to each of us daily.

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