Friday, August 31, 2012

One Act of Kindness Each Day

     With the economy hurting and many folks out of work, in need of health care, food and shelter, the problems seem insurmountable on the surface.  Then, as I talked with a co-worker about what action the average person could take, we discussed the act of giving ourselves away each day to someone new.  Think about this concept.  If each one of us could do one act of kindness to one person each day, what a difference we could make in someone's life.
      A television commercial for an insurance company (I am not certain which one) shows a person in the act of doing a kindness to their neighbor such as helping them rake the leaves in their yard.  A passer-by observes this and goes on to do an act of kindness for another stranger by wiping up spilled coffee at work without being asked to do this.  It is the multitude of little things that we can do for one another each day that don't cost us more than time or a little effort.  Even the poorest person can do this for another soul.
     Jesus believed this is how we show the love of God by doing for our neighbors what we would like them to do for us.  In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), we find a man who has been robbed, beaten and left to lay on the side of the road.  Along came a priest, who immediately moved to the other side of the road.  The same was true for a Levite as neither of them wanted to be unclean or become involved.  Then, a "despised" Samaritan came along and found the man.  He bound up his wounds and took him to an inn.  He told the innkeeper to keep an account for any expenses and he would pay for it when he came back that way.  What a heart!  What a man!  This Samaritan did not have to stop and help this man, but he made a decision to reach out in brotherly kindness to a fellow human being to help someone in need.
     While we may not have the money to help someone, there are simple things we can do.  We can send a card to a sick person or give them a phone call.  Invite a new couple in our church over for dinner to get to know them.  Share our faith with someone who needs a hug and prayer.  Smile!!!!!!  It is free and it uses less muscles than a frown.  I try to do this at the office to bring someone a warm welcome.  Help someone in distress to change a tire or get a call in for mechanical help if their car is broken down.  Drive someone to a doctor's appointment if they need assistance getting there.  Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor.  Visit a nursing home or volunteer there.  Volunteer at a food bank or at a local hospital.  There are a thousand acts of kindness we can show throughout the year.
     I will never forget the act of kindness that a dear friend showed to me many years ago when my mother was in the nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's.  I had received word that my mother may not make it through the night.  She had an infection and was not doing well.  When I told my friend, she offered to go with me to the nursing home, and together, we sang hymns to my mother in her room for nearly half and hour or more.  All her favorite hymns seemed to calm her soul.  We prayed with her and it blessed not only my mother but her roommate as well who was far from her family.  My mother recovered from this infection but I never forgot how wonderful my friend was to come and help me minister at a time of deep concern.
     Romans 12:10 reads:  "Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor."  If only we could live like this every day, it would make an impact on our world.  Practice one act of kindness to a new person each day, and you will find a blessing beyond your wildest dreams.  The only limitation on how we can help others is our imagination.  Seek the Father and ask Him to direct your steps to just the right person.  When we die to self and live for Christ, we will love one another.  Selah!
The serene beauty of Anna Maria Island

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