Acts of Kindness

It’s a phrase that has become popular … random acts of kindness. It sounds good … no, it sounds GREAT! Like a lot of people, when I first heard it, I loved it. What a great inspiration to randomly act in kindness! So much in this world feels dark, oppressive, overshadowing, why not randomly shine a little sunshine into someone’s day? A random act of kindness feels good to the giver and certainly is nice for the receiver. So, whenever the motivation randomly hits you, do something kind.

I like it. A lot. But … as good as it sounds, it leaves something wanting. Could there be something more?

We’re all inhabiting space on this Earth, and every random act of kindness makes life here just a tiny bit better. But what if we could do something better, something deeper, something … a little less random. I’m suggesting INTENTIONAL acts of kindness! What if each of us started our day with a decision to look for opportunities to show kindness? DECIDE to be helpful at the gym, pay for someone’s groceries, volunteer in Sunday School … plan ahead to impact the lives of people for the better, simply by caring and being kind.

We don’t need to do more random acts of kindness. We need to commit intentional acts of kindness.” ~ Ryan Leak

For example, when one of our daughters was in college, she packed brown paper bags with a bottle of water, a granola bar, and a Bible verse in each. She kept these bags in her car. Whenever she saw someone in need, a homeless person, someone begging, or someone who just needed a lift, she would hand him or her a bag. Another one of our daughters had a heart for homeless people, and participated in a weekly event to meet with them and talk to them while food was shared … she also kept water bottles and oranges in her car to hand out when the opportunity arose. When my husband worked in downtown LA a while ago, he often brought an extra traveler mug with coffee in it, kept extra clothes in his car, and would look for someone to give coffee and a pair of jeans to on his way to work. We used to live near downtown San Diego, and sometimes our “church” was to drive downtown, buy coffee and bagels, and hand them out to people living on the streets there. These are just a few examples of acts of kindness that were intentional in that they were prepared for, and then randomly distributed. As I write this, I am thinking what the next intentional act of kindness I am going to prepare for.

Jesus taught us to love God and love our neighbors. One of the ways I love God is to love and serve my neighbors. As citizens of this world, we have a lot of neighbors. A whole lot … like 7.5 billion and counting! I don’t always make the opportunity to love others intentionally and well, but I'm working on improving that every day.

What if you and I started thinking about ways we could show acts of kindness throughout our day? Imagine if we encouraged our small group, our church friends, our classmates, our co-workers to do the same? What if we inspired others to plan out acts of kindness? Then, what if we got really brave and planned to join on service trips to show intentional acts of kindness to our global neighbors? The impact on this world would be staggering! Loving God by loving people is an incredible calling. Intentionally planning for opportunities to shower others with acts of kindness is not only a blessing to them, it’s a blessing to us. And, sort of like the Grinch, it makes our heart grow 3 sizes each time we bless another! (I’m not saying you’re a Grinch, my friend, just that it’s a great experience to feel your heart growing!).

“Love in action is when we meet the needs of other people in their thirst — physical, emotional, or spiritual — out of love for Christ, who was thirsty for us.”   ~ Rick Warren

One of my favorite things about being a part of TerraMica are the amazing opportunities available to show kindness to impoverished farmers in Honduras, to refugees in Europe and the Middle East, to inner city kids in San Diego, and right here at home to the checker in my grocery store … or whoever God brings in my path. So join me … let’s prepare for intentional acts of kindness in every day of our lives. And, just maybe, join me in Honduras or Greece to show kindness to some of our global neighbors!

By Pam Apffel, Director of Operations, TerraMica