I am not sure if you remember the TV show Random Acts of Kindness, or the other similar shows such as Undercover Boss. The latter was really about seeing how the company really worked, but there was the opportunity to reward hard working employees. The other show was about doing some kindness in a random way for people. The Friday night Gardening Show Better Homes and Gardens also does this sort of thing from time to time.
I write about this today, because Alice and I were the recipient of a random act of kindness yesterday. As those of you who regularly read my blog, it was our wedding anniversary yesterday. It comes the day after the anniversary of our second child’s death 19 years ago. So, as a result, we go from one extreme to the other in our emotions. As it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary I decided it would be good to go to Barrenjoey Guest House for dinner and overnight stay. On discovering it was our wedding anniversary the manager upgraded us to the loft room, which is this enormous room, king size bed, own TV and breakfast facilities, with the best view over the Pittwater ever. Now this manager did not know about the cycle of our emotions, but her generosity, which she didn’t have to do, made a huge difference to our stay, our experience, and the enjoyment of our day. It transformed it. However brilliant, and transforming of our day this generous act was it was over today, although we do have a residual feeling of goodwill and blessing, which will no doubt fade as the busuness of the week overcomes us.
It made me think about kindness and how important being kind to one another is. We do not do this in the world nearly enough. We are not always kind to each other, to our family, to our friends, let alone to complete strangers. I think that is sad. I also reflect on how sad it is that beautiful acts of kindness that Alice and I were the recipients of seem to have a time limit, as the good feeling passes as the world continues on around us, and life catches up with us again. Wouldn’t it be great if there were longer lasting acts of kindness. Or even better, longer lasting planned acts of kindness. For me that is always found in God. The writer of Proverbs says this, “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honour.” Proverbs 21:21. The prophet Zechariah declares the word of the Lord to the people saying, “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” Zech 7:6. In the New Testament one of the fruits of the Spirit is kindness (Gal 5:22) and in the letter to the Colossians as God’s chosen ones they are reminded to put on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” Col 3:12.
Kindness is associated with a humble heart, a compassionate person, someone who looks out for the needs of others. It is never associated with power, authority in the traditional sense. It is, however, associated with God’s power and authority for God always exercises His power and authority in humility, and gentleness.
The greatest expression of kindness towards the whole of the human race when Jesus Christ came into the world on Christmas Day, and lived our common life. Jesus demonstrated clearly that power and authority could be clothed in humility and gentleness. The life and ministry of Jesus was the ultimate Random Acts of Kindness effort that has ever been. He healed the sick, he cast out demons, he raised the dead. He transformed lives where ever he went. In the ultimate act of Random Kindness he died on a cross so that you and I might not ever be separated from God. That is the message of Good Friday, it is what we anticipate this Sunday which Palm Sunday.
When we place God at the centre of our lives, we become the recipient of this seemingly Random Act of Kindness. Except it is not Random. God planned it, and He carried it out so that we might have life and have it to the fullest, not just for a fleeting moment, or a defined period of time as in our human Random Acts of Kindness. It is true that we can engage God for a period of time and then ignore him, and our experience of him will be like our kindness to one another, fleeting. However, when we put God firmly and permanently at the centre of our lives we can be transformed, and when we live out this God centred life in our everyday lives then we too can impart on the world the kindness of God, and be a real part of this worlds transformation it so desperately needs. And in doing so we become, not part of a random unplanned process we might call Random Acts of Kindness that has no structure, and is great, but only impacts a few people in a scattered way. Rather, we become a part of the Planned Act of Kindness God has had for the world since the very beginning, as a demonstration of His love for it, but most importantly His love for us.