Random Acts of Kindness

Okay, sorry folks! More leftovers! This post is from last summer. I wanted to use it as an illustration of Matthew 6:

1″Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2″So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Pay it forward (or is it Pay it Backwards?)

For me, there has been a significant mind/heart shift since I’ve been writing this blog and commenting on other blogs. I find myself constantly re-evaluating how I act and react in day to day situations. It’s as if once I’ve typed something and sent it hurtling into cyberspace, it’s there for eternity to remind me when I fail to live up to the views I’ve expounded upon. I may not be able to remember where they all are, but they are no doubt out there somewhere. Such is the case with a comment I made on JML’s blog, Very Much Later. JML (Jake) writes a blog that I’m happy to say, I stumbled upon shortly after I started blogging myself. I love the honesty in his writing. He doesn’t sugar coat his perspective on being a Christian, and he’s able write about his personal walk without talking in “Christianese”. Also, he’s got some pretty amusing vomit stories.

This particular post was about witnessing to people. Specifically, what I refer to as the “cold call” witness. My comment pertained to how I’ve never actually been comfortable approaching total strangers and witnessing to them. Instead, I prefer to get to know a person and let them get to know me. If they seem drawn to this intangible thing that’s different about me, that’s when I’ll share my story with them. This is just what feels right to me — I’m not judging how others share the gospel of Christ. There is one way I’m comfortable witnessing to strangers. I try to find opportunities to practice random acts of kindness. (It’s an old bumper sticker, but I still like it.)
A couple of mornings ago, I had a piece of mail that I wanted mailed that day. Since our mail person doesn’t typically come until late afternoon, I dropped it in a public mailbox at the nearest shopping center. My son wanted to come with me and get some breakfast at Jack in the Box. As I was waiting in the drive-thru line, I thought, “I should pay for the person behind me.” This was appealing to me on many levels: 1) I would be practicing a random act of kindness, 2) I would be teaching my son a valuable lesson about our motives to do good, and 3) it was a fairly easy way to accomplish 1 and 2.
Except that is wasn’t easy. My first clue should have been the fact that I had to repeat my order 3 times. The cashier’s English was not great. When I pulled up to the window, she gave me my total. I said, “Okay. But I also want to pay for the person behind me.” She smiled and said, “Yes, yes okay.” Then proceeded to read my order back to me. At this point, there are several cars behind me, and the intended recipient of my random act of kindness was looking impatient. He also looked like he could be a body double for Paul Sr. on “American Chopper”. After two attempts to communicate what I was trying to do, she finally got her manager. I still had to repeat it twice. Not because her English was bad, but because apparently, paying for a total stranger’s meal is not a common occurrence at this particular eating establishment.

I was finally able to accomplish my original goal. But within that time span of approximately 3 or 4 minutes, several times I wanted to just blow it off and try again another time. But Jesus never said that following Him would be easy. And if everything was easy to attain, then nothing would be worth having. As I was pulling away, I made a conscience effort NOT to look at the truck behind me. But I couldn’t help it. I glanced at him just as he was turning his head towards me. I’m not a great lip reader, but I’m pretty sure his way of saying thank you translated into “What the F***!?!” And that was good enough for me…(smile)

I got some really great comments on that particular post, but the one that really stuck was this one:

What a great story! The last line was the best because that’s probably exactly what I would have said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Okay, here’s something to make you think, and I in no way mean to take away from the random act of kindness. There have been times in the past when I’ve done something along those lines and then did what you did. I told people about it because I felt so happy. But should we do that, or just keep it between us and God? Shouldn’t it be enough that it makes us feel good, without having to tell our friends and family what we did so THEY would think what we did was good? Did this make ANY sense at all????????????? But wait, I’m talking to the woman who named her blog Look! A chicken! ROFLJustin 😮 )
She’s exactly right. I would love to hear about some random acts of kindness that either you have done, witnessed, or been the recipient of; and I would like you to post them anonymously. Feel free to comment as yourselves otherwise. I am hoping that this will be a way to encourage each other to show the love of Christ in very tangible ways (big and small), spur one another on in good deeds, and give God all the glory in the process.

If anyone else would like to do the same on their blogs, I think that would be great!

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