Random Acts of Kindness
We are just into our 2nd week of the Lenten Season. For many, as we continue in this journey of faith, have been challenged to give something up. The usual joke is, "Yeah, I'm giving up liver for Lent." So, what are you giving up for Lent this year? Is it your favorite desert, skipping a meal, fasting one meal a day, or fasting one day a week?
Let me ask you a very different question, "What are you willing to take up for Lent?" In the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, we find that his redemptive act was more than giving up his wealth to the poor and making amends. It was more than that. It was a change of lifestyle, a change in how we treat other people. It means engaging in random acts of kindness whenever and wherever we get the chance with whoever we encounter.
Are you will to commitment to that kind of challenge for Lent? Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, was passing along a street one day when a beggar stopped him, pleading for a charitable donation. The great Russian searched through his pockets for a coin, but finding none, he regretfully said, "Please don't be angry with me, my brother. I have nothing with me. If I did I would gladly give it to you." The beggar's face lit up, and he said, "You have given me more than I asked for. You have called me brother."
This Lent let us take up something - acts of kindness, of encouragement, of love and compassion in our homes, on our jobs, to our neighbors, anywhere and everywhere we see a need. In so doing, in so giving, we follow in the steps of Jesus. Knowing that with every step toward Jerusalem Jesus was delivering up his life for us and the world. And so, with this understanding, hear these words from 2 Peter 1:3-11.
3 His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
Now if you have not done something little this already, take a slip of paper and imagine it as a piece of our Lord’s Cross (paper is made from wood, right?), and write on it something that speaks to your preparation for this coming Lenten Season. It may be some kind of an act of repentance or doing some Random Acts of Kindness. It may be a promise to yourself for sharing in a time of fasting. It may be a desire to seek forgiveness or to offer forgiveness. Whatever that might be, place it in a special place where you can see it every day. No one else needs to read it, it’s just between you and Jesus.
Prayer: Most Gracious Lord, as we journey through this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the Good News of Easter, let your Holy Spirit guide us. Enable us by your grace and mercy to follow through on our commitment to do something to benefit others. Let the love and peace of your will strengthen us in all our days ahead, that we may never stumble. And it’s in your Holy Name that we pray. Amen.
Rev. Ralph S. Wearstler
Regional Elder (District 15)
The full Lenten Devotional Booklet can be downloaded by clicking HERE.