Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bread for the Journey

Paying it Forward..it's doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return. Have you ever had someone show you an unexpected act of kindness? What did it mean to you?  A few years ago I was at a food court trying to decide what to eat. As I stood there looking at the menu someone came up behind me and asked what I was having? Thinking she was only making conversation I said I was just trying to decide and said I think I'll take # 4 on the menu. Sounds good she said then moved ahead of me and said I will get your lunch. I stood there amazed that a perfect stranger would do this. I have never forgotten this and it has prompted me to 'pay it forward'..to show a caring and loving heart to someone else. I believe it's part of God's plan for us to keep on 'paying it forward', to give or to do for others selflessly of all we have received from Him. I pray that our eyes will be open, that we will not miss opportunities to show God's love to others. Imagine how different our world would be if we showed the kind of love to others that God has given us through His son Jesus.
Little acts of kindness go a long way to encourage someone and it can be done simply by things like an encouraging phone call, a card in the mail, sending flowers, bringing a plate of cookies or a meal to someone going through a hard time or to someone who is lonely. Sometimes it can be just a 'because I care' gesture to surprise someone as I was surprised when my lunch was paid for!
Do one single act of kindness and watch it multiply as others are encouraged to do the same.

Hebrews 13:16 NIV
 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

9 comments:

  1. Last night when picking up my daughter from work at Walmart. She told us about going to buy a pop from the pop machine. Someone had left a sticky note saying this is a Random Act of Kindness have a free pop on me. So, my daughter put her money in to continue the R.A.K. The city I live in this year had Random Act of Day on Feb 1. I try to do them often.

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  2. Paying it forward surely makes one feel good. At Christmas I was in a large grocery store and for some reason an older woman shopping alone caught my eye. She just looked so kind and not very affluent. I wondered why I had this urge to pay for her bill and decided she kind of reminded me of my mother (who has been passed for quite some time). Anyway, I kept my eye on her and saw her at the checkout I nabbed a manager nearby and told him I was picking up her tab. I tried to give him my debit card, but he said he would need cash if I were to do it anonymously...I dug in my purse and had enought! (Usually I have about 40 cents on me.) She was pleasantly surprised, told the manager to thank the "secret Santa", and my only regret was that her cart wasn't fuller!

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  3. Love tulips--the photo is great --Your message even greater--so thank you for starting my day on an upbeat mode!!!!

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  4. I am impressed with the organization, Random Acts of Kindness. It has such a biblical principle, giving without expectation, giving from the heart which responds without thought. And I am encouraged that a movement like that exists. These past years I have subscribed to the 'living joy in every moment' and realized very soon that most of those joys sought out would not be my own, but delighting in the joy of others. Many many times I have been so delightfully blessed by kindness of others and whether one belongs to an organization or not, selflessness is such a fundamental start to living in joy.
    I could share many stories but somehow it seems self serving to bring them forward. Most kindness can be given in a moment and cannot be quantified...a smile, a touch, a word of praise...I've seen wonderful things happen with just a smile.
    Let me share one story that came back to bless someone else in a meaningful way. Last summer my son was working in my tourist town with me. One day as I waited to pick him up from his job I walked a local beach. An older man approached me while I sat on a log. He looked a bit bedraggled, scrapped knees and messy hair. Barefoot and grinning he plopped down beside me and started to talk. I love my 'alone' time on the beach but I sensed he needed someone to talk to. He had hitchhiked out to the coast as his daughter had kicked him out of her home; he said he did not fit into her new lifestyle with her boyfriend and he had no where to go. His life had been rough it seems and he had not spent much time with her at all, leaving the mother to care for the daughter at a young age. Now he was penniless and needed her....but he was a burden. He had come out to live on the beach for the summer. But this man was older and unaccustomed to living a 'surfer' life...I could tell it was rough on him. But he was happy, joy in the moment. He had learned from life and now wanted to make his way back to the daughter's heart. If she would not have him he would find some way... He showed me his 'camp' behind a log just out of high tide...not great but he was enjoying the joy in the moment, nature's beauty. He asked me if there was a store nearby....but I could see he had no supplies and not likely not much money. I told him there was no store within walking distance but if he was going to stay camping I would be back later with my son for an evening walk. Did he like shrimp? I'd make him a shrimp curry...takeout. Yep, he said, he sure did. Be here at 7 I said.

    Walking away I thought, what? Why had I said that, I had not made any such plans. When I picked up the son I said, what do you want to do this evening. He said, go for a walk on the beach. Ok I said heading home. When I pulled up into the driveway my neighbour leaned over the fence and said, 'hey, can you use some fresh shrimp? Boat came in today with some shrimp and left me more than I need'.
    It didn't take long to find this gentleman at the beach. He was sitting on the log at 7 sharp. I introduced him to my son and he chatted with him a bit asking him about his studies and giving him sound encouragement. We left him sitting there eating curry and enjoying the summer evening.
    Three weeks later my son called me from his summer job. He had had a call, from this gentleman. Somehow, without names and without knowledge of where my son worked, he had called the information centre in town and sought him out. He wanted to thank us for the food. He had made it safely back to his daugher's home and was happily accepted after the 'breather' they both needed. He encouraged my son to continue studying and being the man he knew he would be. My son was overwhelmed with the time this man took to seek him out.
    Marvelous blessings that sometimes reach out beyond the individual we give to.

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  5. It's such a simple thing - but one we don't always think of doing. Thank you for this encouragement.
    Trish - thank you for sharing that amazing story. Kindness always reaps joy in the end.

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  6. I only hope I'm able to make my point without seeming churlish.
    It's a shame we, society, have come to a point where the simple act of doing something kind has taken on the aura of a "cause".
    When I was growing up...oh! how I sound like my parents -smile-...we children learned to be kind by watching our parents be kind. Daddy always planted, still does, extra seeds in the garden so he has food to take to the widows in his county. Mom has done volunteer work for years.
    Do unto others...cast your bread upon the waters...

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  7. An act of kindness can be unexpected even if not quite random...my best friend's father paid for my last year and a half of university, no strings attached, because their family loved me & saw that I was struggling to get by and working too hard to be getting anything out of school. I don't know many people who would do that for someone else, even if they had the money to do it. That kindness definitely impacts how my family treats others, now that I'm an adult.

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  8. Thank you Betty...for spurring me on to love and good works.

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  9. I live close to Fort Campbell, KY which is home to a large army base. One Saturday afternoon i was eating at a pizza place and a soldier was seated next to me with a young girl. I'm not sure what their relationship was, could have been her daughter, her niece, so many possibilities. As I watched them talk, I found myself wondering if the soldier was just back from a deployment and was trying to get to know this child again. I asked my server if he would bring me their ticket. He looked at me like I was crazy so I told him again that I wanted to buy their pizza or whatever they were eating. He asked me if I wanted to pay for their drinks too. I said that was fine. He wasn't sure how to do it so he went to ask his manager. When he came back, he told me the manager wanted to contribute too so they would not charge for the drinks. I got a copy of the paid ticket and wrote a note on the back thanking the soldier for her service and telling her it was my pleasure to buy their lunch. I gave the ticket to the server to give them after I'd left. I haven't had the opportunity to do this again but I definitely will, it was a great feeling.

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