After the baptism of our granddaughter, our kids provided lunch for relatives and friends. I was asked to drive my son-in-law to the restaurant where they ordered trays of food for takeout. We took the trays and put them in the back of the car. The manager told us there were two more trays the kitchen would have in five minutes. It was crowded by the takeout counter, so I decided to wait in the breezeway and watch for his signal to help.
As I stood by the front door, an older couple was coming in, so I opened the door. They thanked me and I smiled and said, “That’s okay!” Just then, a woman came out of the restaurant. She saw me open the door for the elderly couple. I didn’t want her to feel I was ignoring her, so I opened the door for her. Then a family of five saw me as they approached the restaurant from the outside. I opened the door again.
The food took longer and I became the “door man.” I experienced two surprises: First, everyone really appreciated it. Second, it made me feel good.
I wondered, “Should I leave my ministry and become a doorman?” Then I realized, “No, I should encourage Christians to perform random acts of kindness.” You can’t be insincere. It can’t’ be a “show.” You just want to be kind, to make life a little sweeter, a little brighter, for another person.
Do you see someone who is really good at what they do? What if you said, “You are really good at that”? When you check out at the store, it’s easy to almost ignore the person. What if you made it a habit to look the person in the eye and ask, “How are you today?”…and then wait for an answer.
When was the last time you told a policeman or a firefighter that you really appreciate what they do for the community? What about government officials in your community? How often do they get an e-mail from someone, just to share words of gratitude?
My work puts me in touch with many pastors. When they preach a sermon, it takes hours of preparation. I ask, “When you’ve preached a great message, what percentage of the people say something nice about?” The average is about 1 out of 10. Remember when Jesus healed ten people who had leprosy? Only one returned to thank Him. I tell pastors, it’s about average. It shouldn’t be that way.
You have probably not had leprosy. Perhaps you had surgery. When the surgery goes well, do you thank the doctor for helping you? Or do you think, “Doctors make a lot of money. That’s what they get paid for?” Physicians are people, too. So are pastors.
If you were walking down the road and saw an empty soda can, would you pick it up? If you are in a hotel and throw a piece a paper toward the trashcan and miss, do you pick it up off the floor out of respect for a housekeeper you will never meet? At a picnic in the park, do you pick up trash someone else left?
Random acts of kindness are about being kind to other people, and our world. It’s not just about what you do. It’s about who you are. Who you are when others aren’t looking. Who you are when others are hurting. Who you are in front of your children. Random acts of kindness are about the person you see when you look into the mirror.
We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.