“Really? Is Laura really coming to stay with me for the summer? Oh, that’s wonderful!” my mom said.
My niece, Laura, decided to spend six weeks with her grandmother between nursing school graduation and the start date for her new job.
Mema, as she was called by grandchildren, experienced health issues that rendered her unable to cook, drive, and shop. Usually not one to be discouraged, she grew lonely at times. Can you imagine the joy of discovering that a beloved granddaughter would be coming for a long visit?
Laura’s nursing training and culinary skills were beneficial during her stay, but the best medicines she offered were lovingkindness and companionship sprinkled with joy and laughter. She planned weekly movie and pizza nights. They played games and watched the wildlife that inhabited my mom’s rural property.
While they visited, Laura cut and arranged squares for a quilt and asked Mama’s opinion about colors and patterns. Watching the progression of the quilting process and offering suggestions filled my mom with delight as once again she could help and encourage someone else. (Thank you, Laura, for loving her well.)
Grandmother and granddaughter reminisced over old family photos and retold favorite stories. I know my mom went to sleep each night with a smile on her face. A sweet act of kindness by this granddaughter—a six-week venture requiring forfeiture of beach days with friends—was a valued gift.
Jesus told a parable about a man whose acts of kindness were costly. The Samaritan’s sacrifice required time and money as he ministered to a man who was beaten by robbers and left on the roadside. The kind helper bandaged the victim’s wounds, transported him to an inn, and provided money for his care (Luke 10:25-37). Acts of kindness in this case required the Samaritan to interrupt his travel plans to minister to another person. Jesus encouraged His listeners,
You go, and do likewise.
He also taught,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Extending kindness does not always require significant expenditures of time and money. Actions needing little-to-no resources can be equally valuable to the recipient. A simple smile and acknowledgment of one’s presence or accomplishment can brighten someone’s day.
Weekly, there are opportunities to love our neighbors—people we encounter at various places—by performing acts of kindness. Here are examples I’ve observed:
- picking up a grocery order for an elderly lady
- opening a store early to fit a wig for a chemo patient
- preparing a holiday meal for a patient with no family nearby
- performing free handyman services for a single mom
- opening a door for a person using a walker
- driving a neighbor to physical therapy
- welcoming a church visitor and offering them a seat
- providing a tour of the town to a young woman from another country
- baking blueberry muffins for a shut-in
- shipping diapers to a young family
- sharing garden produce with a neighbor
An act of kindness is a treasure passed from one person to another. The recipient may be a stranger or a dear friend, and the act may be small or large in monetary value or time commitment, but the result is a blessing. What treasures of kindness can you share?
The Kindness Challenge
Step One: Pray and ask God to place a person or persons on your heart who need an act of kindness this week.
Step Two: Watch for opportunities at home, at work, or wherever you are.
Step Three: Share in the comments below some examples of acts of kindness. Have you been the grateful recipient of one?