Be fluent in Kindness
Roderick Mathis is one of the cool kids. He’s a senior at Lancaster High school in Lancaster, Texas. Like most cool kids he’s cool in every way, down to his shoes. One day he was walking the halls and two special needs kids notices Roderick’s shoes. That kind of reaction from the wrong kind of kids can get all kinds of responses. The cool kid can ignore the special needs kid. He can make fun of the special needs kid. If he’s nice, he might patronize the special needs kid. Roderick had a different response. He went to his local shoe store and he bought two pairs of matching shoes for his new special needs friends. One of Rodericks friends recorded that moment and posted it on Twitter. That video has been viewed by over 3 million people.
Walter Carr, a college student from Birmingham, Alabama, was excited for his first day of work… until his car broke down the night before. With no other mode of transportation, Carr decided to walk from Homewood to Pelham overnight, in the dark. The trip was about 20 miles long. Carr made it to Pelham at about 4 a.m., when four Pelham police officers found him, and provided him with food and shelter until morning. When they posted about him online, Carr quickly gained support and admiration from the internet. Luke Marklin, CEO of Carr’s new workplace, saw the post, and asked Carr to meet “for coffee.” Instead of coffee, he announced that he was donating his own, barely-driven 2014 Ford Escape to Walter.
Mark Chalifoux was accidentally added to a family’s group chat as they discussed sending care packages to “Kevin”, a relative of theirs serving in the military. Instead of replying “wrong number” and forgetting about it, Mark started a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy cookies for Kevin and his unit. The campaign gained momentum as it was shared by celebrities on Facebook and picked up by news outlets. A local Girl Scouts troop even donated cookies of their own. Mark raised enough money to send 40 pounds of cookies, plus a second shipment of essentials like toiletries and more nutritious non-perishable snacks, to the soldier. He’s still receiving their group text messages.
I don’t know anyone who intentionally puts kindness on their to do list.
It’s hard to forget a true act of kindness.
Kindness might not make the list of your life goals, but love does. In fact loving and being loved is probably at the top of what most of us want for our lives. Would you agree? This is why kindness is important. Kindness is love put into action.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. I John 3:18.
Love is great. Words of love are great. But love is proven by actions of kindness.
Three events in Jesus life jumped out at me and I want to take some time talking about them and as we do we’ll get a little insight into what kindness looks like. Sometimes kindness is as simple as this statement.
1) I’m going to have lunch with you
Let me show you one quick moment in Jesus life that demonstrates his kindness over lunch.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” (Typically that meant a meal) 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
Sometimes that’s all it takes people. It’s just lunch. It’s just a meal. One turkado. A simple act of kindness. But look at the result.
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything,I will pay back four times the amount.”
One life changed. The lost soul is found. The cheater becomes honest. All it took was lunch. A simple act of kindness.
Lunch with a friend who’s spouse just left
Lunch with a coworker who’s struggling
Lunch with the kid at work to say you believe in her
Lunch with the new guy at work to welcome him.
Lunch with friends to say thanks for your role in my life. You can do that, right? You never know what can happen at lunch. Let me give you an example.
Nine-year-old Noah Smiling saw a policeman eating breakfast at Denny’s and asked his mother, if he could pay the officer’s bill. He wrote a note on the receipt that said “I want to be you when I grow up. Thank you for your service.” Officer Eddie Benitez was stunned and touched by the boy’s kind gesture. He asked Noah for a picture, which the Lakeland Police Department shared in a post on their Facebook page.
“It meant everything,” Benitez told WTSP News. “It meant that I’m supposed to wake up every morning and put on this uniform and go out there and do what I do. You know? It means that I need to keep trying to be a good example to all these young guys.”
Can you think of someone you need to do lunch or dinner or coffee with?
2) I believe in you
Look with me at Matthew 16
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:13-19
This is high praise from Jesus.
Do you remember a moment when someone said to you, I believe in you. I do.
3) I’m going to let you off the hook
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:1-11
Is there someone in your life that needs to be let off the hook?
What are some examples of kindness you have witnessed?
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:2-4
Is there someone who needs some encouragement that you can take out to lunch. Take your phone and text them. Start the conversation. See where that kindness lunch leads
Is there someone who you believe in that needs to hear it again. Text them and ask them to lunch. If they aren’t in the area sit in your seat and write them an email. Those words have power. Use them
Is there someone you know that could use the kindness of a thoughtful gift. Open your Amazon app and start looking. Buy them something that simply says, “I saw this and I was thinking about you.”