Piece of Cake
On Thursdays, a Bible Study meets down the hall from my office. June usually makes snack for the group, and it is not unusual to have her show up at my office door bearing sweets! This week, it was a square of chocolate cake.
June brought in the cake and sat down a moment to chat. Then she took off for Bible Study, leaving me with the evidence of her kindness! The cake was yummy!
A simple act of kindness I often perform for others is to hold the door open at a restaurant or store. I also try to get a smile by saying, “Welcome to Chick-fil-A” or “Welcome to Cracker Barrel,” like I work there. It is a simple, human act of kindness and it blesses me to bless others.
Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, He begins to grow in us “…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 6:22-23 NIV) I believe the following Fruit of the Spirit are the natural outworking of the first fruit—love. When God imbeds His love in our hearts, our attitudes and actions begin to change to be like Jesus!
Here is what I find working in my own life. The first step in being kind is to see another person. To notice them. I can sometimes be so focused on the task at hand that other people become pretty invisible. Lord, give me eyes to see the people you place in my path who could use a little kindness to encourage them.
The step that follows is to pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The prompting may be simply to smile. Or hold the door open. Or buy a meal for a serviceman or police officer. The promptings of the Holy Spirit toward kindness are promptings to act. Kindness is not a feeling we have toward people. Kindness is action taken to bless and encourage someone else.
The final step in practicing kindness for me is to act. A server in a restaurant looks hassled and tired. Shirley and I go out of our way to get their name and call them by name each time they come to the table. We sometimes—when prompted by the Spirit—tell our server we’re going to be praying in a moment to give thanks for our food, and ask if there is anything going on in their life we can pray for. Our server names something we can pray for—and appreciates it—virtually every time.
The world can be a very unkind place. I believe followers of Jesus are missionaries of kindness. I believe God can and will use acts of kindness to encourage others and love them through us. And that is the first step toward introducing them to Jesus.
Holy Spirit, open my eyes to others and prompt me to acts of kindness and service. Use my life as a missionary of kindness. May your will be done.