Photo courtesy of Phil Hollenback
Each morning after Joe has left for work, I return to our bedroom to find that he has made the bed. This has been his morning “ritual” for quite awhile. I don’t recall ever asking him to do it, but I certainly appreciate it. It’s amazing how one simple act of kindness on his part seems to set the tone for my entire day. I feel organized, accomplished and happy – and I didn’t even have to lift a finger. Double win!
His bed-making contribution is such a huge blessing to me. He acts like it’s no big deal – and it might not be to him. But it is to me. It makes me want to do something nice in return (or at the very least not be a big hag to him when he gets home!).
I think of that verse we hear a lot. You know the one.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25: 37-40 NIV)
Christ tells us there are many opportunities to minister to others, and by following through with His command, we are glorifying Him in the process. It’s not just “nice” to do something good for someone, it’s biblical! And what better way is there to teach our children the importance of giving of ourselves, than by actually doing it ourselves?
We are surrounded by people we can bless with a kind surprise, from family members and close friends to acquaintances and total strangers. Also, when we involve our children in our charitable activities on a regular basis, it may become second nature to them to include that act in their lives when they grow older.
If you don’t already have some ideas in mind, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a great resource. Below are some things they suggest:
For those we know…
- Write a note to a friend or family member telling them how much they mean to you. List specific attributes they have that you admire. Children can write a special note to a Sunday school teacher or family member. (Oh, and God has a way of timing things, so don’t be surprised if it the note is received at a much-needed time for someone!)
- Tell your children and your husband why you love them
- Send an anonymous gift to a friend.
- Bake an extra casserole or loaf of banana bread and take it to a neighbor.
- Get your friends together, go to your local park and pick up trash. Then have a picnic there!
- Ask your kids what their favorite meal in the whole world is, and then fix it for dinner.
- Baby-sit for a busy mom you know, so she can go to the grocery store unencumbered or just relax at Starbucks and have some “me” time.
- Write a note to your parent(s) and list things they did for you growing up that you remember and appreciated.
For those we don’t know…
- Leave a token of appreciation (card, candy, or homemade goodies) for your mail delivery person.
- Get up early on garbage pickup day and greet the workers with some cold bottled water and some homemade muffins or cookies.
- Hold a teddy bear drive and donate the bears to the police or fire departments for traumatized children.
- Prepare shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child with your children (It’s not too early to start!). Let them help you shop and put the boxes together, and pray together for the children who will receive them.
- Buy lunch for the person behind you in the fast food line.
- Visit a local nursing home. Find out which residents don’t receive many visitors and bring them “goodie bags” with sugar free candy, trial size toothpaste and lotion, or a plate of homemade cookies.
- Volunteer with your (older) children to help at a local homeless shelter.
- Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading a car.
By showing Christ’s love through random acts of kindness, whether we are recognized for it or not, we can give people a little lift when they least expect it. You never know who might need a helping hand or a kind note to brighten their day or help them through a really crappy time in their life.
Pray the Holy Spirit will show you opportunities to step in. Those times when your heart beats just a little bit faster? There might be a reason. Look around next time.