OK! Everybody up! Rise AND Shine! It’s Friday – Let’s play a game. Come on. You know you want to. We’ll call it Fresh Look Friday. Have you ever heard of Pay-It-Forward? How about Random Acts of Kindness? And here’s one. Have you ever heard someone transform the words of Luke 6:31 which clearly says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” so they become “Do unto others before they do unto you?” I know. Those play on words usually projects a negative connotation, and that’s what looking through the lens of Fresh Look Friday is all about. Let’s change random to intentional and let’s put back the original intent of Luke 6:31 “Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.”
Before we start, here’s some background for the ‘Pay-it-forward’ tradition. I’m going to take a wild guess that you didn’t know it began with King Solomon. It surprised me too, but look! King Solomon, the wisest man on the planet started it back in Proverbs 3:27-28 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” See? Pay-it-Forward, when you can. God’s words through King Solomon says nothing about cleaning out your wallet. He just asks us to “do good…when it is in within our power”.
Doing good will always cost something, but so does doing nothing.
We’ve all heard about someone in the drive-thru having their ordered paid for by the car in front of them. I was the recipient of one at Starbucks. Funny how most of these performances are enacted at Starbucks or McDonalds. That in itself brings on the happy. But let’s think real life. We all have limited resources. I don’t know anyone who has an unlimited supply of cash, lives with hours of unused time, and has no idea what to do with the white space in their life. We could all use some added white space in our lives.
Let’s see … already low on cash … our time runs out before the day is barely started, how will we perform an Intentional Act of Kindness? There’s your answer. Start with one. Do just one … then repeat “when it is in within our power”. We’ve all heard it’s easier to be pulled down into a pit than pulled up out of one. There’s a fast track to the downward spiral of defeat – well why not on this Fresh Look Friday create an upward spiral of inner joy? Mother Teresa is credited with saying “We can’t do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I might not have that exactly quoted, but it’s close.
So let’s start here with Intent: Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Get the inside right: Luke 6:45 puts it this way. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
The outside will take care of itself: 2 Thessalonians 1:11 “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”
The only requirement for an Intentional Acts of Kindness is that it be from a heart with right motives. Ready? Here are some ideas to kick-start your intent.
- Leave a note on someone’s desk that says – I hope your day is fantastic today!
- Send an email message to anyone in your contact list to say you’re thinking of them. It can be a 5 second communication.
- Leave a bag with some quarters in it at the Laundromat with a card that makes it obvious that they are left Intentionally.
- Visit someone who can’t get out on their own. Elderly, shut-in, disabled
- Take a meal or small bag of groceries to a family
- Mail a post card or letter– the kind that go through the post office
- Smile and Intentionally say “Hi!” with a smile … and when you say “How are you?” really, really mean it.
- Make some small cards or buy gift enclosure cards in advance and randomly write kind words, a Bible verse, or encouragement. Drop them into grocery carts or bags as you pass people leaving the store, leave them on desks, on a car windshield (when there is no rain in sight), you can figure it out. Pretend you’re in the secret service. You are, sort of.
- OK so sure, pay for someone’s order if you have the resources and you are lead to do so.
The person on the receiving end of any of these Intentional Acts of Kindness will be blessed, and you will be too.
“I have had great joy and encouragement because of your love, for the hearts of others have been refreshed through you.” Philemon 1:7
A few years ago, I printed up some cards with the text shown in this photo, to hand out to people who serve me in restaurants or at retail stores. So you see, blessings aren’t always tangible, but they are felt in the heart like a laser light show of joy. I promise.