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Greater benefits for many in their daily battle of life.
  
OLD PAINT                                                             By  Phil Guerena Sr.

Old Paint was a retired cowboy pony that lived way out in the state of Montana.  He was old with a lot of grey hair, but he lived a much pampered life.  He was so old that he probably wasn't even good enough for dog meat.  He had a spacious private corral and his very own personal barn.  There he could sleep and find shelter from the rain, cold and snow.   I asked the daughter of the owner of the ranch, who was retired himself, why they kept that horse and gave him so much special care and attention.  They seemed to feed the animal anytime he wanted to eat.   Her answer was that this horse was the best cowpony her dad ever had.  So it was decided to reward this animal for his faithfulness and excellent working habits.  He was to live as comfortably as possible all the days of his life until he died.  

If faithfulness and gratitude can freely be given to an animal, how much more can it be expected for any person?  In the Bible there is a case of an old prisoner, a former Jewish king taken captive in war, who had unusual kindness bestowed upon him by his captives.  It was thirty-seven years that he was in prison when a new ruler of the land arose.   This new king not only spoke kindly to this destitute monarch, but he also treated him with great respect…even to the extent of giving him a place among the princes of the land.  Lastly, he was served kindly being invited to eat at the new king’s table among the nobles of the kingdom.  This was done for all the remainder of his life.  (II Kings 25:27-30; Jeremiah 52:31-34)

Sometimes, overwhelming kindness produces overwhelming gratitude.  In the novel of the Count of Monty Cristo, an evil killer’s life is spared by the character Edmond Dumont.  In gratitude this man, who once lived a pirate’s life, became a life time servant of Dumont.  In the New Testament of the Bible, the Apostles realized that Jesus Christ died for them and rose again from the dead; not only to save them from sin but hell itself.  Therefore, they called themselves bond (life time) slaves of Jesus Christ. 

Kindness to animals and people is not always appreciated.  People can be so ungrateful!  Those who sacrifice their time, energy, and resources can, at times, find themselves betrayed by the very individuals they sought to help.  In the Bible thanklessness is listed as a sin (II Timothy 3:2). 
Proverbs 12:10 says: “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”   It seems that there can be two ways in which the wicked respond to tenderness and graciousness.  They can show a lack of appreciation by rejecting it completely with hatred; or they can allow themselves to be overcome with kindness and gratitude.

 The kindness shown to animals, like in the case of Old Paint, are precious moments in life that can be given to anyone.   If a captive enemy can be forgiven and accepted, then how much more those we interact with on a daily basis?  This is the way God wants us to respond…with kindness to all even if they come back with cruel hatred.  No matter how long one may live, it is best that they be kind in everything they do, say, and think.  May God help us to do so.  May we have many Old Paints in our lives.   Proverbs 10:12: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sin.”
  
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