Acts of Kindness
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
What happens when love impels us to do a kind deed for another? It blesses not only the receiver but the giver as well. God is Love, and when we act lovingly we are expressing divine Love itself.
My husband and I were on vacation at our favorite place in the mountains. I went into a snack shop to order us some lunch. Two women in front of me were a little short of money, and so I laid a dollar down on the counter and asked, "Would this help?"
They said with concern, "We couldn't pay you back, though."
"That's OK," I said.
"Actually we only need 25 cents," I was told. I was happy to oblige.
Their next question surprised me: "Have you been reading in the local paper about people doing good deeds for others?"
"I don't think so."
"Well, then, it just comes naturally to you?"
I found myself answering, "I think it comes from my religious beliefs."
At that moment, I believe, we all had a wonderful feeling of God's love. Their warm smiles, their gratitude and happiness over my simple sharing, just filled that little snack shop. I had never mentioned God or the name of my religious affiliation; yet, to see that such a small deed could bring sincere joy to all of us was to me clear evidence of God's presence there.
It is not how much or how little we give that matters, but rather that the love of God motivates our giving.
I have learned much about this love from the words of Christ Jesus. This love was the motivation for everything he did. His life was full of proof that God loves us all constantly. Through healing people and teaching them about God, he blessed them.
Once, Jesus encountered a widow whose only son had died. They were carrying the young man's body to be buried. According to the book of Luke: "When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother" (7:13-15). That was real proof of the power of God's great love.
Maybe we feel the caliber of this healing of Jesus makes its message impractical for us, today. But Jesus' teaching about the power of anyone's loving action is promising: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Christian Science explains that healing through Love, as Jesus healed, can still be practiced today, through a growing understanding of our relation to God. Its textbook makes statements about how individual efforts to express love constitute prayer, including the observation that "what we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 4).
You always have opportunities to express God's love in deeds of kindness to your fellow men and women. Just listen for God's directing. Whether you are on vacation, at home, at work, in line at a store, or in a traffic jam, you can express such loving qualities as patience, grace, compassion, generosity. It is natural to you, as God's son or daughter, to reflect these qualities from Him. They have their source in God alone and are inherent in your nature.
I am still feeling the wonderful power of God's great love from that little experience. Next time I'm asked what 25 cents can buy nowadays, I'll smile and think, "It can buy the opportunity to do a good deed!"
Let love be without
dissimulation. Abhor that
which is evil; cleave to that
which is good. Be kindly
affectioned one to another
with brotherly love;
in honour preferring
Romans 12:9, 10