How to Have a Good Day

My husband drove his car into the driveway as I opened the front door. I was  heading out to join him for our weekly extra-long prayer walk. On the way to the car I thought I’d take a quick look at the bird’s nest in my hanging geranium, as has been my custom over the past several weeks. As I pulled the chair over, (I have to stand on a chair in order to see the nest) I felt a sense of disappointment.  I thought the eggs should have already hatched, and was feeling a  bit concerned that perhaps something had gone wrong with them. Maybe the mother didn’t sit on the eggs long enough each day…or maybe I had messed them all up by looking at them.  Sigh.

Just as I peeked into the nest, I saw a creature (hardly bird-like) coming out of an egg.0609141313  Yes, God smiled on me and let me arrive at the exact timing of the hatching!  Gradually, this creature began to take the shape of a tiny bald bird with really large eyes.0609141313a Throughout the day, in intervals between errands and appointments, I peered into the nest.  Each time I looked, another bird was being born! ~577894306091415300609141734a  I returned home from a meeting late tonight and haven’t yet seen #5.  I wanted to look, but mama bird was covering her babies.  All was quiet and calm in the nest.

I do realize thousands of birds are born every day all over the world…but this still thrilled me. How incredible is this–that just a few weeks ago a bird laid some eggs in my mother’s day gift…and now five tiny little birds are living creatures!  Soon, they will fly away. Births never cease to amaze me.  They are all miracles.  Commonplace, yet profound–too wonderful to fully understand.

I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  Psalm 131:1-2 

This verse so well describes how I felt today.

And to update yesterday’s post… I had such great fun finding ways to “pay it forward.”  I learned anew just how much joy comes from  random acts of kindness. I am determined to make this a habit.  I decided not to stick around to see responses from the recipients. So,  I don’t know what the response was, but I sure know how I felt.  It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

Any day we are filled with the wonder of God’s creation–accompanied by a deeper sense of how big God is….is a good day.

And–a day focused on random acts of kindness…is a good day.

The cool thing is–we can choose to have this perspective any day of the week.  That said…have a good day!

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.

Clarence’s Shoebox

Today, during our staff meeting, we had an opportunity to share our appreciation for a dear sister, Laura Webster.  It was Laura’s birthday….and a big one.  An elder’s wife, she is a beautiful woman, inside and out.  As her strong and burly husband, Clarence, shared about her with tears he recounted a story about a shoe box.

As a young man, Clarence assumed he would try to make his life work by entering the military.  His mother became disabled, and called him into her room one day.  Under her bed was an old shoe box, which she pulled out to show her son.  Upon opening the box, and seeing a sea of green, he was dumbfounded to discover that the box was full of hundred dollar bills.  His mom had saved this money throughout her life, and presented it to Clarence.  She implored him to use this to go to school.  He did just that.

It was at university that Clarence met his wife, who impacted him greatly, especially when she became a Christian after they were married.  This led to his own decision to become a Christian.  Clarence recently buried his mother, and even more recently his brother, both of whom had followed suit as they learned the Scriptures.  His sons and daughters- in- law are wonderful Christian men and women as well, and his grandchildren are being raised by faithful, confident parents.  So many lives in many places have been touched by this couple.  For Clarence, it began with the shoe box.

We may never know how an opportunity we afford someone can impact them and countless individuals for generations to come.  Clarence’s mom did not have much money, but decided she would scrimp and save to give her son a chance to succeed.  Similarly, I’m reminded of a woman in the Bible whom Jesus said would be told about everywhere the Gospel was preached.

Mark 14:3-9

    While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

    [4] Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? [5] It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

    [6] “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. [7] The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. [8] She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. [9] I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Her sacrificial giving “what she could”, (though it was not a lot by human standards) had a tremendous impact on Jesus and on those who heard of her actions.  Even today, years later, this woman inspires me to give what I can.  And Clarence’s shoebox reminds me that what you and I may be able to give can have a ripple effect of good that may make an eternal  difference in many lives – in ways that we may never  even see.

Eccles. 11:6

    Sow your seed in the morning,

        and at evening let not your hands be idle,

    for you do not know which will succeed,

        whether this or that,

        or whether both will do equally well.