Speaking Of Life 2011 | Not So Random Acts of Kindness
The car I drove during my college years was not very reliable, and I had many fearful moments of feeling stranded and scared. One time my vehicle broke down two hours away from school and two hours from home. Almost immediately, two strangers pulled over to help me get my car off the highway and to a gas station. I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice of time and energy these individuals gave to me, someone they had never met and would probably never see again.
“Random Acts of Kindness Day” is celebrated in the US on February 17th every year. It’s a day where people take the opportunity to show kindness to others – whether they know them or not. While having a special day to focus on showing kindness is great, I’d like to challenge us to think of random kindness as a way of life. Being attentive and kind to others is a way of participating in the expression of God’s love for all humanity.
This isn’t a new challenge. The prophet Isaiah talks about how the ancient people of Judah tried to please God by fasting, but then they would fight with each other. The prophet wanted them to see the type of fast God really wanted to see:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Is. 58:6-7, ESV)
God wanted the people to practice some not-so-random acts of kindness. They were so focused on being righteous that they missed the point. Being righteous should make the world a better place, and if it doesn’t, it’s not really the righteousness that flows from God.
And if participating in making the world a better place isn’t enough reward in itself, the prophet continues:
“You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.” (Isaiah 58:12 NRSV)
Our acts of kindness have the potential to repair and restore God’s people from hurts that are often a part of life. What might seem like a small and insignificant act can set off a ripple effect, and as the ripples expand, the world can change.
If we challenge ourselves to not-so-random acts of kindness, we are participating in an expression of God’s love. We are being Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. Then we trust God to take our small efforts and bring forth the restoration this world so sorely needs.
May we all look for ways to be kind to others today and every day.
I’m Michelle Fleming, Speaking of Life.