After being vaccinated, (and waiting for a reaction) I decided to inflict a different kind of distress on myself. I read old sermons. In a not so old but not so recent one, I stumbled upon a research study conducted by marketing professor Robert Cialdini. He directed a research team to go door to door in a San Diego suburb, placing hangers on doorknobs with messages about energy conservation. There were four different messages. For some homes, the signs urged the homeowners to save energy in order to protect the environment. The message on others said they should conserve energy for the benefit of future generations. The third message pointed to the cost savings resulting from conserving energy; the last message stated most of the homeowner’s neighbors were taking steps to save energy every day. At the end of the month his team returned to the homes who received the door hangers to read their meters and then compared them to homes receiving no messages at all. What they hoped to discover was what kind of messaging effects people’s behavior the most.  So, after comparing the energy usage from the houses with door hangers, what they found was only one of the four groups of houses that received those hangers actually reduced their energy consumption as compared to the houses who didn’t receive a door hanger at all.  The only door hanger which made a difference in people’s behavior was the one stating “your neighbors are doing it.” The homeowners who received one of the other three messages, touting the benefits of energy conservation, did not change their lifestyle and kept on living as they had before. The professor summarized the most important conclusion in the study when he said, “People are looking at those around them to decide what to do.” In other words, people decide what’s important. Perhaps I can go as far to say that people decide how to live by watching those around them.

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:2
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.”

Reflection Questions:
Who do you need to care more about?
What are others seeing in your everyday actions?
What are you eager to do for God?

Prayer: Holy God, create in me, through my words and actions, an epicenter of goodness and kindness to my family, friends, and community and throughout your beautiful creation. Amen.