|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
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Why Be Kind?
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
ROMANS 12:21, NIV
Tim and I tumbled through the door of the coffee shop on a chilly winter morning. We were at the beginning of a yearlong commitment to daily acts of kindness, and I was determined to get off to a good start.
As we looked around the shop for someone to bless, we spotted a state trooper, in full uniform, sitting at a corner table with a mug cupped between work-worn hands, visiting quietly with a woman. "Let's get him a gift card," I suggested. Nodding, Tim strolled to the counter, purchased the gift card along with our drinks, and headed toward the trooper's table.
Finding a seat nearby, with my heart thumping, I glanced over to see my usually unflappable husband's smile falter a bit. Eventually, he made his way over to me. Excited to hear how the conversation had gone, I was instantly deflated when Tim told me how the trooper seemed dismissive of the gift, accepting it only after some insistence. The rejection stung.
That little setback could have thrown us off track as we began our one-year experiment with kindness. It would have been easy to think, Well, if that's the way it's going to be ... forget it. I don't need the humiliation of a stranger's rejection.
Though I've never been one to turn down a gift card, I know I've rejected other acts of kindness. I've deflected compliments and refused offers of help. As uncomfortable as we felt in our moment of rejection, it forced us to ask ourselves a question: Why be kind?
As I thought about it later, I was reminded of this truth: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Our willingness to be kind shouldn't depend on how someone else will respond; rather, it should be motivated simply from knowing that God wants us to be kind. He sees our hearts, and our kindness is pleasing to him.
— Today's Act of Kindness —
Think of a time when you didn't thank someone for a kindness he or she extended to you. If you can, reach out and thank this person now.
Don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Bleary-eyed, I raised my head off the pillow as my husband attempted to move stealthily across our bedroom and out the door extra early one morning. The forecast had promised at least a foot of snow overnight, and he was getting up to snowblow a path out before we had to get to school-bus stops and jobs.
I got the kids up and moving, made coffee, and fed everyone breakfast, and after all that, I realized Aaron was still gone. I peered out the living room window and saw nothing but a freshly cleared, empty driveway. Turning my head, I spotted him — a snow-dusted figure slowly plowing his way down the sidewalks — headed toward our widowed neighbor's driveway.
This is not an uncommon sight during winter. When my husband heads out the door to take care of the snow, I'm never quite sure how long he will be gone. Once he gets started, more often than not he does a few extra sidewalks and driveways around our cul-de-sac, especially when he knows that someone has not been well or has a lot on their plate. In our snowy Minnesota climate, this is an easy way to bestow a tangible kindness on those around us.
Truth be told, it's a contagious kindness. Several people with snow-blowers on our end of the neighborhood have started wandering beyond their own driveways and onto the sidewalks and driveways of neighbors nearby, ours included. It has become a give-and-take among neighbors — each of us keeping an eye out for one another on snowy days — and has deepened our sense of community.
And it all started because my husband simply took action. There were no elaborate plans, no discussions, no grand schemes behind it — he just started serving where he was and with what he had. These small sacrifices have served to pull our neighborhood closer together, and they are, undoubtedly, pleasing to God.
— Today's Act of Kindness —
Serve someone else unexpectedly with a sacrifice of your time.
Go Tell It
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
A professor and mentor of mine once described the Victorian era's attitude toward acts of charity as one in which secrecy was paramount. Rather than seeking public approval, British citizens believed that hiding their good deeds increased the legitimacy of what they did — if people found out, the generosity didn't really "count."
The same entwining of secrecy and generosity is addressed in Matthew 6:2-4: "When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do — blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! ... When you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."
I struggle with this idea. There are many times when friends have posted about a charity or a cause they believe in, asking for donations or help, and I'm moved to do as they ask. Is it a bad thing to talk about organizations we believe in and have helped, and to want others to help as well? Yet, how is this any different from what the hypocritical do-gooders in Matthew did?
I think it's more a heart issue — one that's addressed in Hebrews, where we are told to "motivate one another to acts of love and good works." The folks parading their good deeds in the streets did it with false humility — "See what I did for these poor people!" — rather than out of a genuine concern for those in need. If our own selfish pride is at the heart of our motivation, we're in trouble. But touting worthy causes out of a genuine belief that others need help and we can do something about it is never a bad idea.
Do you struggle to tell others about your good deeds? Recognize that there is a fine line between bragging on yourself and spurring others to do good works. Ask God to help you distinguish the difference so you can honor him as you go about his work.
— Today's Act of Kindness —
Post on social media or send an email to some friends about an organization you care deeply about, encouraging them to consider supporting this ministry.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "100 Days of Kindness"
Copyright © 2019 Julie Fisk, Kendra Roehl, Kristin Demery.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
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