Random Acts of Kindness

The young man with eyeglasses too big and mismatched socks under his sandals stood on the median of the busy road this afternoon.  I tried to assess his situation, as I eyed him a few car lengths ahead of me.  I felt sad that such a young man would need to beg on the street.  As I think back, he wasn’t actually begging.  He was simply holding a cardboard sign that said, “Kindness brings karma,” or something like that.

I was in the left hand turn lane and the light had just changed, giving me a green arrow.  Cars moved on ahead of me as I hurriedly scrounged around my purse for a bill of some kind.  I found a dollar, called him over and put it in his hand.  Quickly, before I even knew what was happening he looked at me, gave back the dollar and told me he wasn’t homeless—but thanks for being a kind person.  He stuffed something into my hand along with the dollar bill.  It was a ten dollar bill! On the back of the bill a note was taped that read, “Random Acts Revolution.” IMG_5100

That little event was certainly random and it made my day.  I put this ten dollar bill in my pocket so I could “show and tell” this story to everyone I spent time with today.  This young man’s actions got me thinking… Can a simple act of kindness really begin a revolution?  Our world certainly needs a kindness revolution.  That is not what I usually experience on a typical day in traffic. Certainly, a kindness revolution has to start somewhere.   Why not with a ten dollar bill?  I’ve heard of numerous people purposely doing random acts of kindness and have always been inspired by their deeds—I’ve just never been “all in.”

I began to feel giddy as I thought of ways I could “invest” this ten dollars by “paying it forward.”  I’ve never actually taken a day to specifically focus on “random acts of kindness.”  However, this one young man’s action inspired me to do just that tomorrow.   I could pay for some someone’s groceries, a meal, some coffees, a haircut (yes I’d have to add to the bill.) I will pray about the opportunities and hope the recipients will be likewise inspired to “pay it forward.” IMG_5098

This is not a new idea.  Jesus taught this concept many years ago.  The scriptures are numerous that teach these truths.  One truth is that Jesus went about doing good, and so we will do the same as we follow him.  Secondly, whatever we give because of what we have been given by God—we will be blessed.  We can never outgive God.  Consider these verses:

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached– how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.  Acts 10:36-38  

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”    Luke 6:38  

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”    Acts 20:35

I’ll let you know how the day goes, but I’m confident that God will be happy about this plan, and I will be too. If you are so inclined, consider a random act of kindness you could practice today—and do it!  Let Jesus’ example and teaching be your direction and inspiration, praying for opportunities to let others know he is the reason we even know how to give.

As you practice a random act of kindness, feel free to post a comment about the experience.

“Unless”

This past week I “drank from a fire hydrant.”  At least that’s what it felt like as I took in so many powerful and wonderful lessons in a short amount of time.  I returned from the World Discipleship Summit today convicted, thrilled, moved, inspired, renewed and exhausted!  Yesterday, as nearly 18,000 disciples sang “Men Who Dream” tears of joy kept flowing down my cheeks.  I am quite sure God is not through with us and I’m so eager to see God do more than I dare ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:21) And, I’m eager to let God use my life for His glory.

Processing a week like this will take prayer and time.  It’s funny how things can sometimes come together in unexpected ways. The Summit came together for me on the way home today.  I decided to watch the movie offered by the airline, as it seemed light and fun – and my brain needed a rest.  As I watched the Dr. Seuss film, “The Lorax,” I realized that the simple message from this little film honed my many thoughts. Though it sends a message about the environment, it left with me more of a moving, spiritual application.

As the Once-ler shared his regrets from his selfish past he led a young man, Ted, to the secret of how to help the fallen, hurting and deceived world in which he lived.  Ted was intrigued by some “stones of remembrance” he saw -with the word “unless” etched in one of the rocks.  Facing many obstacles, he gained the conviction,passion and courage to change the world. He had to fight the evil O’Hare in order to plant the one living seed which would give new life to the world around him. Through this challenging journey he came to realize the meaning of the word left by the Lorax – “unless.”   “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

This same word is used powerfully in the scriptures.  Here are just a few verses where this word is used:

Matthew 18:3
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 13:3
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

John 3:5
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

John 6:53
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John 15:4
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Acts 8:31
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Romans 10:15
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I decided to take this word personally, realizing that it also applies to me.  “Unless” I care a whole lot…I can’t make things better.