Random Acts of Kindness
Last week, after an exhausting day at work when I was juggling way to many responsibilities at once, I began thinking about acts of kindness. Sometimes, they're simple things, like holding a door open for someone whose hands arefull of stuff. Other times, it's bringing dinner to someone who's bedridden. It's those acts, both large and small that show a stranger or a close friend that you care enough to mak their life's burdens just a bit easier to carry.
Anyway, as I was complaining about how I wish someone would have done something special for me on above mentioned work day, a voice in me nudged me to the opposite - do I do the same for others? What do I do to make the lives of those around me a bit more easier to navigate, a bit more happier?
I found the following quote on Tumblr the other day and it made me think....
My generation is gruesomely lonely, but in response, we don’t need another handout, another kind gesture, or a better bible study. We don’t need more people that will merely know our name and address or care for us sporadically and at arms length. We need big, reimagined, Jesus kind of love, and people willing to sacrifice themselves in order to live it with us. We need people who will love us enough to get messy. So be deeply involved. Be covered in someone’s tears. Be the person who gets the call at midnight. Be the person who hears the gory details when someone’s marriage or career falls apart. Be the person who tells someone the hard stuff that they need to hear but no one wants to say. Be the person who repeatedly gets someone else’s mud and blood all over you. Be the person who goes home a little uncomfortable at night, not because of your behavior and thoughts, but because you’ve been near enough to someone else’s. Be a family member to the lonely, messy people of this world, and to my generation. -Josh Riebock
God calls us to sacrifice our own lives and comforts to do His work, which includes doing good and making everyone's lives around us easier and more blessed. Even if it's giving up the shirt on your back or the last of your paycheck - that's what we're created to do.
I'll be the first to admit that most of the time, I don't live like this. Instead, I seek to make my own life better, easier, more successful somehow. Some days, when I do a favor for a friend or volunteer to do something, I'll enjoy it for a few minutes, but as soon as it cuts into my busy schedule or long to-do list, anxiety fills me and I get frustrated. Suddenly, it's back to me and my needs. Other times, I start to feel used - my inner pride rears it's ugly head and tells me I deserve more and that helping someone else is really not my problem.
And that is so wrong. In a society motivated by self-interest, as Christians, we are called to a higher purpose. In the book of Matthew, Jesus shares the following conversation:
"And the king will answer them, 'I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." - Matthew 25:40-43
So this week, I encourage you to sacrifice a few hours or even a few minutes to do something good for someone in your life - friends, family or strangers. Send flowers to your mother. Offer to wash the dishes or cook dinner. Take a friend going through a tough time out for coffee and just listen.