By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
Do BIG blessings have to come in BIG packages? Not necessarily. It’s often the small gestures that make the biggest difference in building relationships and planting seeds of compassion. In Ephesians, Galatians, and Colossians, God exhorts His kids to walk in kindness and tenderness.
We look for ways that we can minister grace and goodness into people’s lives. Sometimes, that comes through big miracles and heartstopping prayers, and sometimes it comes from a cup of coffee and a purposeful smile. Just as Jesus reminds us of the power of faith as small as a mustard seed to move mountains, so do small kindnesses have the power to break down high walls.
Like the time I held the apartment gate open for my neighbors while they unloaded groceries, an act which didn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to me, yet weeks later, they still remembered, and it opened the door for a conversation and relationship. Often in the Bible, deep conversations started from someone offering a cup of water or other simple kindness.
But, random and simple acts of kindness can still make a difference, even when they’re only in passing. I was on the receiving end of such a kindness this week, and reminded again of how something seemingly inconsequential can have a significant impact.
I’ll Cover Her
One of my jobs is tutoring young elementary students, and one of them had brought the book “If You Give a Dog a Donut” for us all to read together.
As we started to read, I told them, ladies, this doesn’t feel right. We should be eating a donut while we’re reading this!
We decided to pause and finish the book the next session, and they made their requests – strawberry sprinkles all the way! I told them, I would see what I could do.
The next time we met, I had a pretty tight time window from one tutoring job to the next. I had mapped it out and had found a donut shop en route, but it didn’t occur to me to check if they took cards. In our ‘contactless’ world, no one is using cash anymore, right?
I picked out six donuts, not the basic glazed kind, but the kind with the sprinkles and candy and cronuts and you name it, I got it. I even made sure to get options for my co-workers, too.
Photo by Xtina L
So, I was mentally patting myself on the back for being such a good co-worker and tutor, and then I saw the words “Cash Only” – in big, bold, capital letters across the cash register.
Have you ever noticed that the opportunity to be kind and go out of your way to bless someone rarely happens when that person “deserves” the blessing? I felt like such a fool that I hadn’t even bothered to check if this little store accepted credit cards.
Now, remember, I was on a time crunch. I was in a part of town I wasn’t familiar with and had no idea where an ATM was.
I was standing there with my wallet open and my mouth doing that open and close fish thing, when a person behind me said, “That’s ok, I’ll cover hers.”
Blessing the Blesser and Blessee
Now, I had picked out the best donuts, and many of them, so it wasn’t like they were covering a dollar or two! But, this complete stranger brushed aside my offer to put some of the donuts back and lessen the amount.
I gushed my thanks, informing the benefactor that my students would be quite appreciative, and I would be sure to let them know who the donuts came from! The person replied that their mom was a teacher, too, so it made them feel like they were doing something special for her (isn’t that how God always works – blessing the blesser and the blessee!).
That small act of caring, or random act of kindness, turned a slightly fun reading exercise into a heartwarming story that clearly, I’m still talking about. Their selfless act of giving may not have started a relationship, but it made an impact.
It brightened my day, and really, my week. Plus, my young students and co-workers were also blessed, not only by the donuts, but the story behind it.
So, how about you, fellow believer? Where can you brighten someone’s day? How can you use a small act of kindness to spread the love of Jesus and change the atmosphere around you? I’m on the hunt now for how I can “pay it forward” and see who I can bless back!
Photo by Chris Yarzab