A random act of kindness
So many thoughts were running through my mind as I was interrupted by an older gentleman standing behind me in the checkout lane. Lifting his hand, he showed me three bracelets and asked that I choose the one I wanted. He had given away more than 500 colorful bracelets over the past year and only had a few left. I chose the red one.
I was a stranger to him, but he showed me a random act of kindness that changed the course of my day. I hugged his neck and thanked him for the kind gesture as his smile warmed my spirit. I do not know his name, where he came from, or where he was going. I only know for a moment he was present in my life, and I am grateful.
I enjoy this time of year: the gift-giving, the cheer, and the random acts of kindness we share. In December, our homes are brightened with decorations, and our schedules are filled with charitable events. There is a look of innocence in the children’s eyes when they see the red-clad elf promising a visit on Christmas morning. Likewise, there is something special about looking for the perfect gift for the one you love and seeing their face light up with excitement.
However, in the joy of the season, some people are hurting. They have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. Not every child will receive the ‘perfect’ gift; not every person will be warm, feel safe, or be fed. Life is not perfect; people need random acts of kindness to fill in the empty spaces of life. We are a people dearly loved by God and have been chosen to be holy. As holy people, we are called to clothe ourselves with compassion and kindness toward others (Colossians 3:12). We are taught how our kindness to one another shows kindness to our Lord.
Jesus shares the parable of a great King who thanked the people for their compassion. The king said they had visited him when he was sick and imprisoned. The people had provided food, clothing, and shelter when he was in need. The people could not remember such a time and questioned their king. The king answered them, saying, “I tell you the truth. Anything you did for my people here; you also did for me” (Matthew 25:31-40).
There was a man who had spent his life begging for money because of his disability. When the Disciples John and Peter saw him, they did not offer him silver or gold but healing (Acts 3). Maybe we are not called to heal the paralytic, but hunger is crippling. When the grocery store offers a Bogo, buy one for yourself and give the free one to your neighborhood food bank. Donate to your local shelter if you have outgrown your winter coat. Nursing homes are filled with lonely people looking for a friend. Be a friend! After all, loving the King’s people is loving the King.
The red stretchy bracelet I received in the checkout line has no monetary value. However, it is priceless because a stranger took the time to see me and to offer me a blessing. Take the time today to see the needs of others. We may not have silver and gold, but we have random acts of kindness to offer the people of the King.
Hebrews 13:1-2 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers; by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Cheryl Mixon-Cruce is Pastor of Ochlockonee Bay United Methodist Church and Sopchoppy United Methodist Church.