A few years ago we started hearing about Random Acts of Kindness. As if it was a new idea. Actually, God started this a long time ago. And even though it’s fun to bless someone on a whim, it’s even better when you plan ahead. It still feels random to the person on the receiving end, but when you plan ahead, you can “act” more often.
What if we practiced kindness—not just randomly—but all the time, in different ways—so people would know there’s a God who cares and loves to bless them? Imagine how wonderful it would be when there’s a special offering at church or you see someone who needs some hope, if you were ready to do something about it?
Throughout the Bible we’re encouraged to “set aside” both money and time. It talks about setting aside your tithe (10% of your earnings) to keep the church running and help people at home and around the world. “When you have finished setting aside a tenth…you shall give it to the Levite [the pastors of the day], the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied” (Deut. 26:12).
And Paul encouraged early believers to help others in need: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made”( 1 Cor. 16:2).
Maybe “random acts of kindness” sound like more fun than saving up. But you have to have resources so you can be spontaneous. Think of the possibilities.
Not So Random Giving
We put money in an envelope every payday. It’s so fun to see how God shows us how to spend it! Here are some examples:
Giveaway bags for beggars—Money has a way of getting spent on drugs or alcohol, so instead, fill a bag with things they might need—socks, hats, food, toothpaste, vitamins, or a blanket. Include encouraging literature or a lightweight Bible, and a note to say you care.
Anonymous Surprises—Leave a note and $20 with a grocery store cashier with instructions—Apply this $20 to the bill of the next tired mommy (elderly person, single dad, or someone who’s going through a tough time), and give them this note. In it tell them they’re important, loved, or offer hope, and keep your identity secret.
Not So Random Time
This one is a challenge; we’re all so busy. That’s why it’s important to set aside time, before it melts away. Plan an hour to sit at a coffee shop and engage strangers in encouraging conversation, or extra time at the gym so you can listen to someone who’s having a hard day. Weed your elderly neighbor’s yard or take Gatorade to a construction crew on a hot day. Spend an hour a week building, sorting, answering phones, or serving people who need a helping hand.
Not So Random Words
Words have power, even when the grammar or spelling is imperfect. My daughter wrote this note when she was about six. I use it as a bookmark and it always makes me smile. It says, “Your my secret angle.”
Who needs words of affirmation, encouragement, or validation? Who needs a laugh or sigh? Who needs to know they matter; that they’re not alone? Write notes ahead of time to give a waitress, waiter, sign holder, or teacher who needs to hear what a good job they’re doing. Include a gift card or extra tip.
Note cards and emails can be read over and over without having to be deleted. Sometimes a text is just perfect. And a phone call or personal compliment can warm someone for days.
So go ahead, let the world think you’re practicing random acts of kindness, but you and I know it takes a little planning to change the world.
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