So, I tried to come up with some things that could still be categorized as random acts of kindness, but required more from the person doing them than simply just being a decent human being. I took my cue from Jesus......feeding the hungry.....clothing the naked.....watering the thirsty.......visiting the imprisoned.....caring for widows and orphans....humbling ourselves as servants, and making the last, first. These are the things he wants us to do, and he makes it very clear that when we do them for someone else......we're really doing it for him.
So, here's my list of 15 not-so-random things we can all try. My challenge to you? Pick one or two that resonate with you (or maybe tweak one a little) and make it yours. Make it something that you just....do. Often. On purpose....and with joy!
1. Leave bottled water on your trash cans for your trash collectors during the summer, and hot chocolate during the winter. If you want to make them feel extra special, leave them a thank you card, too!
2. Take a box of donuts to your local police station.....or bagels, if you want to seem less cliché! A thank you card here is a good idea as well.
3. The next time you're at the store, go to the toy section find a parent who is shopping with a child. Ask them if you can buy their child a stuffed animal. Let the child pick it out, and watch them grin from ear to ear!
4. Text a friend and offer to babysit for them one night this week. I can attest to the fact that every mom of little ones secretly wants this! Especially if, like me, they don't have any family living nearby. Moms need a break.....and time alone with their husbands!
5. Send a card to the custodian and/or secretary at your job or at your child's school thanking them for the work they do. Let's face it....these are two of the most important, yet underappreciated positions! In my years as a school teacher, I found that every question or problem I had could usually be answered or solved by one of these two people. Show these people some love!
6. Put together a care package for your child's teacher...or, any teacher, for that matter. You'd be surprised how some sticky notes, pens, and highlighters can make someone's day! Also, many teachers are facing budget cuts and often spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms - help them out!
7. Write an inspiring or encouraging message on an index card, and tape it to the back of a bathroom stall door. I have experienced this, and let me tell you.....it's powerful. I was having a rough day. I had sent a friend a text message earlier voicing my frustrations with everything while on my way to a rehearsal. I stopped off at the restroom before going into rehearsal, and there, on the door, was a sticky note with a positive message on it. I don't even remember what it said, but I DO remember that it made me feel better, and reminded me that whatever it was I was upset about would pass. I mean really.....a special note plastered right in front of us is that last thing we expect to see when we sit down on the toilet......at that moment, you have someone's undivided attention......make 'em smile!
8. The next time you eat out, if you enjoy your service, ask your server to bring the manager over to your table. In front of both of them, relay to the manager how wonderful the service was and what an asset that person is to their staff.
9. On your next trip to the drive thru for a bite to eat, grab something for someone else.....like the someone on the corner, holding a cardboard sign. Chances are, you wouldn't have to drive very far to find one of these people. These days, it's hard to know if that person really is in need, but guess what - it doesn't matter if they're really in need or not - just do it anyway, because your blessing comes through your willingness to freely give.....not in trying to determine whether or not someone is worthy of your gift. I often feel a compulsion to do this, and have decided to do it at least once a month.
10. Buy a bouquet of flowers, and separate the stems into single blooms. Write a bible verse or note of encouragement on a small tag, and tie it to each flower. Take the flowers to a local nursing home or hospital, and visit the bedside of a stranger, gifting them with a flower when you leave. Even if you visit a room where the patient is asleep.....leave them a surprise for when they wake up!
11. If you sew, make some pillowcases or lap quilts out of fun, cheery material, or material with superheros and other kid-friendly characters for children in the hospital. Take them to your local hospital, or mail them off to the nearest children's hospital.
12. When you go to tip your server at dinner, instead of (or in addition to) leaving a monetary tip, leave a gift card. Remember, a lot of servers are students, so a gift card to a local grocery story, for example, means that they can get anything from food to gas to supplies for school.
13. Take $5 to your local library. Ask the person at the front desk to apply it to the next person in line with overdue fines.
14. Leave a home-cooked meal at a friend's front door (with a note, so they know it's from you), drive away, and then send them a text telling them to
check their front door.
15. Assemble personal care bags for the homeless. This is so easy to do, and can be a HUGE blessing to someone! Take a large ziplock bag, and fill it with personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine care items, tissue, lotion, band-aids, chap stick, etc....). Depending on the season, you can also include gloves and a scarf in the fall/winter or sunscreen and a small umbrella in the spring/summer. You can stock up on things at the dollar store if you want to make several bags, or, if one is all you can afford - just make one! Keep the bags in your trunk so that you always have them on hand in case you see someone who needs one, or make a special trip to deliver them right to the homeless or to your local homeless shelter for distribution. This is also a really great activity to do with kids! They will have a great time helping you shop for the items and assemble the bags, and it is a fantastic way to teach them about caring for their fellow man in a real, tangible way
If you were to look up the word "random" in the dictionary, like I did, chances are you'd find a definition similar to this:
Proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern.
I want to proceed with reason.
I want to have a definite pattern.
The love of Jesus is my reason.....the life of Jesus, is my pattern.