Have you ever been down and out when a random stranger said or did something that changed your mood completely? What works for us also works for others, and a little bit of kindness can make someone's day! It may even impact world history, as legendary athlete Jesse Owens can attest! Advice from a rival saw him win Olympic gold!
Kindness can also have a chain effect. One morning, a Starbucks customer in Florida paid for her coffee and that of the customer behind her at a local drive-through. The girl at the counter asked the next customer if he, too, wanted to pay for the next customer's drink. The pay-it-forward continued for 11 hours―ending at the 379th customer.
Jesus was, of course, one of the kindest people who ever walked upon the earth. One of his most notable acts of kindness involved healing a leper. When the leper asked Jesus if he would be willing to heal him, Jesus reached out and touched the man. More than the physical healing the man received, that was probably what impacted his life forever.
Do you need some ideas about how you can be kind to someone? Make a care package — a package of useful provisions — and give it to somebody in need. Leave notes around your home or office with encouraging messages. Invite someone you know is alone (or lonely) for a meal. Take a friend for a movie. Wash the dishes! (This one is for husbands!)
Spend some time teaching somebody a skill. I had a lot of fun last week talking to a teenager about starting a podcast. Tip someone who doesn't expect to be tipped. And tip generously. The look of joy on their face is worth far more than what you give them. Smile at people you meet. If you are a braver soul, hug someone you know! There's nothing like a friendly, warm hug to bring cheer to someone who is low.
If you see someone taking a picture of a friend, offer to take one of them. Talk to the person sitting alone at the party; there usually is at least one. Be polite to the guy who calls you unsolicited and tries to sell you insurance. Tell the choir at your church service how much you enjoyed their singing—ditto for the pastor his preaching. Let people cut ahead of you while driving. Ok, I know this one is hard!
As you can see, there are several things we can do to show a little kindness. Let's do them and make the world a better place. And, oh yes, send one of these reflections to someone who could use a little hope!
May the Spirit be with you.