Monday, April 19, 2010

Thanks--I Needed That!

 Trinity Touch Times.

"Gathering to touch our community in simple ways."

The church flowing out of the church.

Being the church.

Loving and caring and surprising.

With no strings attached.

Just random acts of kindness to "show God's love in a practical way."

Like hanging around a self-service laundry with a handful of quarters.

Like staking out a gas station with a handful of $5 gas cards.

Like hosting a dollar car wash--where instead of charging a dollar, the "washee" receives a dollar for the privilege of washing his or her car.

Like paying for the order behind you in the fast food drive-through line.

For starters.

Ed coordinates this ministry for our church. He has such a tender heart.

He told a story about three weeks ago that still haunts me.

He and a small group of others were spread out on Michigan State's campus passing out goodie bags. I don't know what all they contained. A bottle of water. An energy bar. Other stuff.

I probably don't have the story totally straight, but here's the gist of it.

Ed held one last bag with nobody in sight. He prayed for a recipient and headed down an alley. He saw someone coming toward him.

Only one someone.

The kind of someone you don't want to stare at, but you do want to take it all in.

Or the kind of someone you might just want to ignore. Avert your eyes. Maybe even feel an ounce of fear toward.

Kind of a cross between Goth and punk. Whatever they are.

Dressed all in black. Spiked hair. Chains. Studs. Covered in piercings and tattoos.

All alone.

Even Ed hesitated a second, but then stopped him and said something like, "I just want to give this to you and tell you God loves you."

Silence. For a brief second. And their eyes locked. There might have been a tear in the young man's eye.

"Thanks," he said. "I needed that."

And a tear welled up in Ed's eye. They hugged. And the young man went on his way. He didn't even know what the bag contained.

So what did he need? Someone to look him in the eye and tell him they cared. That God cared. That he mattered.

It's what we all need really.

Someone who will lock eyes with us.

Acknowledge us.

Offer a smile, a touch, a kind word.

Or a glass of water. Or an energy bar. Or even a handful of wilted dandelions.

Regardless of our appearance. Or even our attitude. Or because of.

Because we all hide hurts.

And we all need to know we matter.

And that someone cares.

Thanks. I needed that.

When did someone last perform a random act of kindness for you? How did you feel before and after? When did you last perform a random act for someone else? What resulted?

"My brethren, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]! James 2:1 (Amplified)

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King


Graceful said...

I love this! One time a woman at the grocery store bagged all my groceries as I wrestled with my screaming, hungry infant and tantrumming 3-year-old. I will never forget that generous act of kindness!

You have inspired me -- I am going to look for an opportunity to bestow a random act of kindness today!

Janet Lyn said...

Tears in my eyes. I love when people give to others from a heart of kindness and love. I try to do things like this when I can. I especially love the idea of having an actual ministry dedicated to this, to make people more aware of the everyday opportunities they have to show love to another human being, to extend grace, show compassion and be God's hands and feet and arms of love in the world.
Thank you for reminding us all what a difference, what hope can be shared with simple, yet profound kindness and love.

Duane Scott said...

What a beautiful story. I recently wrote a blog post about this very thing. Offering hope to those that look like they don't need it.

It seems like God is still wanting to remind me of all the people around me.

Thanks for being His messenger.

Sandra Heska King said...

@Graceful: Such a simple act that required but minutes of her time. But an act that I'm sure you'll remember forever.

@Janet Lyn: Sometimes I think too long and hard and miss the opportunity. :(

@Duane: I think He wants to remind all of us!

Jeff Jordan said...

Maybe not that random, but back in the spring of 2004 I had some complications from a spinal block that left me neary paralyzed for over week. I had trouble walking for several months and intense pain as well. It was especially hard for my wife who had a 6, 4, and 2 year old plus me to deal with.

A group of about 10 friends from church (without asking if we needed anything) spent an entire Saturday at our house mulching, trimming, mowing, and spring cleaning for us. After finishing they came upstairs to my room, gathered on and around the bed and prayed for me.

I'll never forget it...or them...or the love of Christ I received so unexpectedly.

My pride would never have let me ask them for anthing, but it's exactly what I needed when I needed it...I get choked up to this day even thinking about it.

Great post, Sandra. Sorry for my epistle here, but you asked:)

caryjo said...

I love the examples you gave. It's occasionally a stretch of life for me on the "giving" side -- usually when I'm on the road, meet someone at a rest area, or other times when I'm just out on a prayer walk.

However, on the "receiving" side, God dropped one into my life on December 14, '08, in Rapid City, SD, when I was on the road to Tacoma from Omaha. Had had a very intense driving day b/c of the ice and blowing snow... so often couldn't see the highway and just kept hollering to Jesus to help me. [Since He's the One Who sent me out, it was His job to protect me, but it was hard to not panic a number of times.] When I reached Rapid City and found a motel, I ran into a problem. I was going to be away from home for about a month, and wasn't sure whether I'd be stuck on the highway during any storms, so I had all kinds of food, and PILES of stuff, overall, that would have been "killed" by the cold as it was -30 that night. A man in the motel who had been standing at the counter, could tell I was concerned and very tired and called a friend of his over, and the two of them helped me unload the car in the snowy parking lot, pushed the luggage cart in for me, and even helped me up to my room. They wouldn't accept anything from me -- I offered to buy them dinner -- but just made sure I was OK and shook hands and left. What a difference it made after that very long and stressful [and scary] nearly 12- hour day of driving to have these men [angels?] step up and bless me.

This is just one example -- there are so many -- but it's the first one that jumped out at me tonight. [When I was showering that morning before I left, knowing there could be trouble, but knowing I was supposed to leave, the Lord said, "You have a rough day ahead of you." Nice of Him to warn me.]

OH, and for anyone who might wonder "what was that crazy woman doing to let these strangers help her, not knowing their motives," all I can say is I knew it was the right thing to do.

~~Melinda Y.~~ said...

What a beautiful portrait of christians w/ their working clothes on. Amazing how just a few drops of "rain" can make a flower stem stand up again.
Few years back I had a flat tire. While waiting for road-side assistance, I decided I would just lean up against the passenger side of the car & read a book. About 10 mins. later a guy was jogging & stopped to ask me if I needed help or would like to borrow his cell phone. I advised him help was on the way-Thanks. Another 20 mins passed & then an off-duty police officer stops on her way home & asks if I'd like her to wait w/ me until help arrives. Nope-Thanks anyway. Another 30 mins go by & then a guy pulls up on his Harley & offers to change the tire for me(He was a mechanic,also on his way home from work). By this time, I'm believing that Angels do exist. Didn't read much of that book. However, I did read pages of God's kindness written on people's hearts.

Sandra Heska King said...

@Jeff: I love that your friends saw a need and took care of it. Sometimes we just don't know what to do or we ask what we can do and the one in need doesn't know how to answer, or is too embarrassed to respond. I once heard of someone who made it a point to go to a grieving family's home simply to polish shoes for the funeral.

Seems like you make me choke up a lot.

@caryjo: What an awesome story! And that you felt peace in allowing strangers to help you, a lone woman obviously in the hotel alone. Blessed by angels.

@Melinda: I can just see you lounging against the car with your book! You waited for an hour for assistance that finally came in the form of a Harley. And I'm just thinking that you might have been planted there to plant some kindness on the hearts of those who offered help!

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