28 February 2011

Word for the Week...


"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it."
-Albert Schweitzer

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.

In a 2000 movie, a social studies teacher gives his class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. One of his students launches a good-will movement called "Pay it Forward” ... the recipient of a favor, does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back, so a chain of good deeds continues.

One morning last week I drove through Starbucks for my occasional Grande White Mocha. When I got to the window the cashier told me that $2.00 of my bill had been paid for, because I was part of a “pay it forward” that had been going on for most of the morning. Of course, I paid my full amount so that the act of kindness could continue, but as I drove away several things occurred to me. First, the original person that started the “pay if forward” had brought smiles to a lot of people that morning. The Starbucks’ staff were having so much fun and even cheerier than normal (if that is even possible). And I’m sure the customers pulled away with a smile on their face, just like I had. Secondly, everyone involved had become part of something much bigger than ourselves.

The Bible instructs us to “clothe ourselves with kindness” (Colossians 3:12). I have found that sometimes in the process of doing a kind deed for someone, if I remain anonymous, something pretty amazing happens to me. You see, God knows my small acts of kindness and I know my deed has made Him happy. By not identifying myself to others, I feel like God and I are sharing a special secret, and that gives me great joy!

Here are some quotes that give us other great reasons why we should consider doing random acts of kindness for others:

"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely
detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever."
- Margaret Cho

"Remember that you are needed. There is at least one important
work to be done that will not be done unless you do it."
- Charles L. Allen

"There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down
and helping to lift someone up." - Bernard Meltzer

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their
echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Showing kindness is a way we can share our faith with others, too. No matter what our calling, God’s ultimate calling is for us to bring others to Christ and care for His people. He calls to us as He did to Isaiah, “Comfort, comfort my people" (Isaiah 40:1). Peter was a fisherman when Jesus called to him: “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16). Then Peter went on to recruit elders with the words, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care” (1 Peter 5:2).

You may be saying to yourself, “Where do I begin?” Well, you can start today by saying a simple “thank you” to strangers that serve you throughout the day (like the bagger at the grocery store). Why not offer to lend a helping hand to someone unexpectedly, or show genuine interest in someone you come in contact with but have never said more than a quick “hello” to. During my day I spend a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies. If I feel myself getting stressed or tired, I’ll take a moment and ask the customer service person how their day is going or what their weather is like. When they answer “thank you for asking,” it comes full circle and cheers me up. Random Acts of kindness don’t just make a difference in the lives of others, but also bless us in the process.

There are many ideas for random acts of kindness that can be found on the internet. Here are two great websites that can offer not only suggestions but some valuable resources:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/     This site contains a kindness idea of the day, lots of “kindness” stories and a wonderful source of "kindness inspirational quotes."

http://www.helpothers.org/     This website also has some awesome kindness ideas and one of them is called “You're It. Pass It On. Smile Cards!” They are based on the “pay it forward” concept. All you do is anonymously make someone smile, and leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. It’s so easy and fun, and it’s truly contagious. To find out more, check out their website and click on the “smile cards” tab. They even have a download for printable cards.

While browsing several sights that shared some really great ideas, I came across one suggestion, made a few changes and came up with an idea that tied to last week’s blog about sending greeting cards. All it would cost is the price of a roll of 100 stamps. Ask for permission to set up a table outside of the door of your local thrift shop (ie. Goodwill). As people pass by (either coming or going from the shop), ask them if they need a stamp or two. Many of the shoppers probably don’t have “extra” money to purchase stamps, so this would be a very appreciated act of kindness. Just think how this could affect lives if they use the stamp to mail a note to a special loved one or someone they have not been in touch with for a long time.

Can you imagine the joy we must bring to God when we have fun finding creative ways to be kind to others and do it “anonymously.” And I think it gets even better when we do random acts of kindness that allow others to participate in passing along kindness at the same time. Have you thought of any other creative suggestions? Will you accept the “Acts of Kindness Challenge” today?

If the anonymous bug has bitten you, be sure to check back on Friday.... when we will continue to “sparkle” anonymously! Be nameless, unidentified and a “secret” blessing to others.... enjoy your week!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:16


Maxine said...

DONNA - loved this post too!! Aren't you excited about RELEVANT?? Much Love, Max

Donna Weaver said...

Maxine - Thanks again... I'm always amazed how God directs my words. Blogging is so much fun and yes, I am very excited about RELEVANT. I can't even imagine all of the great stuff we will be learning...and the inspiration from some of the best writers/ bloggers... WOW :)