Well over a century ago a young man walked into an Illinois school building. The teacher, one William Mentor Graham, recognized the young man as a newcomer to the area. And, Graham knew, this young man was already gaining a reputation in the area.

The young man stood well over six feet tall. In addition to being tall, he was also thin. This did not, however, stop the local boys from challenging the young man. Who was the best fighter? Graham knew the young man had already beaten several of the local boys. So, what was he doing in Graham’s school? Was Graham now in danger?

Although Graham may have been apprehensive, he greeted the young man and asked how he could help him. It did not take long for Graham to ascertain that the young man needed help learning to read. He was eager to learn better reading skills. Soon this young man was borrowing reading books from Graham.

Graham is not well known in history although there is a short reference if we Google his name. William Mentor Graham is known as the teacher who taught Abraham Lincoln to read.

History well remembers Lincoln. However, that day Lincoln entered Graham’s classroom had Graham succumbed to the fear he felt, Graham might not be remembered at all. Instead, because he overcame his fear and he took the time to talk with Lincoln, we do remember him. Graham and Lincoln spent considerable time together after this. Graham’s kindness and concern may well have changed the course of our American history.

God places before each of us, those who had some need. When we, out of kindness, offer to help someone, we never can predict what God will do with our acts of kindness and assistance. The kindness is ours. The result of that kindness belongs to God.

If your church is interested in submitting to the weekly Clergy View column, contact Clint Walker at CWalker@jg-tc.com

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