Random Acts of Kindness

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that sets aside one day a year to celebrate acts of kindness. February 17th this year was “Random Acts of Kindness Day”.

I don’t have anything against Random Acts of Kindness Day, it’s kind of fun. But as Christians, we have lived for centuries with an age-old call to serve our neighbor. So the urgency to be kind should be so rooted in our souls, that having a day set aside for it should seem…redundant. Kind of like “National Chocolate Day”. Why? Why do we need that? (Every day is chocolate day at my house.)

But performing loving acts of kindness is a little more challenging than loving chocolate, isn’t it? There are a lot of reasons why that’s true, but I can think of three. Three reasons that hold us back from reaching out to others.

Loss of Control

When we step out to help someone else, we’ve lost control. There’s no way of knowing how that offer of help will be accepted, so we get a little nervous and start second guessing ourselves.

“If I run ahead and open that door for her, will she think I’m weird?”

“Well, I’d make a pan of brownies for them, but does everyone like brownies?”

I can say with confidence that no one thinks an open door is weird. Brownies? Everyone loves those. Believe me, that’s just nerves talking.

The Big Picture

Instead of figuring out what can be done, we’re blinded with the giant problem. Nothing I do will make a difference. Why even try?

Sometimes situations are overwhelming, but doing something small can be huge. When my dad died, my church friends provided food and drink for my family at the wake. Did it take away all the pain of loss? No, but we felt so loved, and so relieved to have that one chore done.

Fear

A friend told me that she was afraid to ask God what he wanted her to do. She didn’t want to volunteer in Venezuela, or move to New York to work in a soup kitchen. God might ask her to do something too big, and it worried her.

Well, this is what Mother Teresa of Calcutta said about that, when she was asked, “What can we do? How can we make a difference like you?”

“Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right where you are – in your own homes – in your own families – in your workplaces and in your schools.”

Kindness doesn’t have to go to another country or state to serve. The needs of those around us, in our families and communities are just as immediate as the ones overseas or in another state. My friend had nothing to fear.

This Holy Week before Easter calls, nudging us to step outside of ourselves. Let’s overcome our thoughts of looking silly, seeing only mountains and being afraid.

Together we can be the hands and spirit of kindness in our families and communities. Today would be a great day to start.

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64 thoughts on “Random Acts of Kindness

    • Hi Bill! Right??!! How can anyone question baking brownies for someone in need? That photo is pretty appetizing isn’t it…makes me want one myself .

      Have a restful afternoon,
      Ceil

  1. Amen, my friend! It really costs so little, but DOES require stepping outside of ourselves and self-occupation. Often, it can be simply a kind word or a smile (especially from someone we may not know). I confess I started before I stopped here today. Our ABF (small group) leader’s wife was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a few months ago and is going through treatment to move toward stem cell replacement. I saw him without her in church today and learned she wasn’t feeling well as a result of a virus she had a few weeks ago. I promised to call this week, but chose to text as soon as the sermon was over just to let her know I was thinking about her since I know she really hates to miss services at church. It took less than a minute, but sometimes I am so caught up in “my” day that I don’t keep tuned into how God wants me to use the time He has given me.

    Hope you are having a beautiful day in Chicago. It is a gorgeous sunny mid-70’s day here in NE Ohio and my hubby and I just got back from a walk.

    Blessings to you for the upcoming Holy Week
    Pam

    • Hi Pam! It is a nice day here! It’s overcast, but in the low 70’s and very windy. I took a walk myself today, the flowers are really starting to bloom. It’s so fun to see the new life to close to Easter.

      How beautiful to text your friend! Even if she can’t answer, she knows she’s in your heart. It does seem like a small thing, but isn’t life filled with lovely small things? And those little acts can mean so much.
      Have a blessed Holy Week too my friend. God bless you and your hubs too,
      Ceil

  2. Ceil, you are absolutely correct about kindness shown to others, right here in our own backyards. There is so many hurting and so many in need – we can’t afford to make excuses!
    I’m so excited about being involved, starting tomorrow, in a ministry at our church that sends cards to members who are shut-ins, or just in need of an extra dose of Christ’s love and encouragement. I’m hoping, too, that Danny and I will join a team that rotates over the month to physically visit those in need of a loving touch. It’s exactly what Christ would have us do.
    Blessings!

    • Hi Martha! Wow girl, you are on fire! I love that you are getting involved with shut-ins. I think they can feel so invisible, and I know your cards or notes will really perk up their day. And a visit? That might seem like a small thing, but it really is a huge thing. We were made for companionship.

      I hope you’ll post a few times on your new volunteer efforts? It would be inspiring to hear how you are making a real difference in your community.

      Have a wonderful Holy Week,
      Ceil

  3. Oh Ceil … it is obvious you’ve not been to Britain ever, or lately. We have no random acts of kindness over here. If a man stands up in a bus and offers his seat to a woman, she’s likely to ask him, “What do you want?” Often in the shops people enter before me and don’t hold open the door; or if I do hold the door for them they just go in and ignore me without saying thank you. Only yesterday, I was waiting at the queue at the petrol (gas) station to reach the pump and fill my car tank. Another car overtook the queue of standing cars and went to the front pump to serve himself first. I was about to give him a piece of my mind but I was held back by the lady passenger I had with me.

    Sorry Ceil. You caught me on a bad day!

    Thank you for a wonderful and thoughtful post. We certainly need acts of kindness in this sad world of today..

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! I was in London once, and visited the Palace and Windsor Castle, the Tower…the usual tourist things. But I loved it. We also saw Les Miserables there!

      You did have a bad day…and that just shows how immensely important it is to be kind to one another. Just one thoughtless act can cause anyone have a bad temper, or spoil a whole day. What power we have for good in this world.

      Have a wonderful Holy Week Victor. God’s blessings on a new and better day for you,
      Ceil

  4. Such a lovely and encouraging post, Ceil, and I love that quotation by Mother Teresa. You know, one of my fellow bloggers sent me a book by Mother Teresa and it is fantastic! I really enjoyed and appreciated her sending it to me.

    I think random acts of kindness should be practiced on a regular and daily basis. I often smile at strangers when I am on the bus, and I greet children, elderly people, disabled people and animals, too. It makes me feel good to know that I may be the only person who said a kind word or gave a smile to that person in their day. Another thing I enjoy doing is when I meet my friend once a week at McDonald’s for a coffee, I take the sticker off the cup and look for someone to give it to. Mostly it is an elderly person, but always someone I don’t know. It isn’t much but still, I believe any small act of kindness done according to our abilities is a good thing. I hope you have a great week ahead!

    • Hi Linda! She really has a way of bringing simple truth in such a clear way, doesn’t she? I also really admire Mother Teresa.

      It’s really inspiring to me how you try every day to be kind to someone else. What more can we ask of each other? It can be a smile or a kind word that can turn someone’s day from dark to light. I don’t know what the stickers are on the coffee, but I know you are being generous in sharing that with someone else. Denying ourselves for the sake of another is being like Christ! What more could he ask us to do?

      Thank you for sharing your own efforts. They are going to spur me on to do the same!
      Blessings on your Holy Week,
      Ceil

      • Hi Ceil, I forgot to mention what the stickers are! Here in my area, the McDonald’s restaurants have a card…and there is a sticker on every coffee cup or hot chocolate that you purchase. You can remove the sticker and put it on your card. Once you have 7 stickers, the 8th cup of coffee is free. 🙂

        • Thank you for letting me know, now I get it! We might have that program here in the USA too, but I don’t get to McDonald’s too often to find out!

          God bless your generosity, showing me how beautiful a simple act of kindness can be.

  5. Hi, Ceil!
    You included one of my favorite quotes by Mother Teresa. She really understood relationships didn’t she? Both with God and others. I was overwhelmed on Friday when I offered to go with two other girlfriends and help a friend of ours pack for a move. I was glad we initially set boundaries because when we got there we saw that our friend is a hoarder. We felt like we didn’t even make a dent in packing the kitchen dishes. But we gave God Friday morning and our project and let the frustration go. I sat next to one of the packers in church this morning and we smiled at some of the humorous jokes we exchanged on Friday. We made our own fun in a situation that seemed to spiral down. Another lesson for me that day that all I can do is what I can do and God does the rest.

    • Wow Mary, that was quite an experience I’m sure! You sure went about it in the right way though. You gave your time, smiled (even joked a bit!) and did your best. What more can God ask of us?

      I know we are limited, but God is not. He used you to help this person, and he will call on others too. He is so good to his people, and you were one of his angels on Friday. Thanks for sharing your day, and your kindness here!

      Have a blessed Holy Week,
      Ceil

  6. We have a radio station that promotes random acts of kindness everyday. Just being reminded can help me to do a kind act, but must admit I have to be intentional about it. If I don’t than my day just flies by without any ‘out of comfort zone’ acts of kindness. I’m pretty good with polite (as most of us Canadians are). 🙂 I think once we get intentional than it becomes so natural that the barriers melt away!

    • Hi Lynn! Yes, being intentional is a key virtue. Unless we make kindness a priority, it will get shoved to the back burner. We are so busy (especially you!) and get easily distracted. Having that daily reminder would really help in keeping me on track, and breaking through to help someone else.

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

  7. I love the quote from Mother Theresa. I just recently read a devotional that talked about serving those God sends across our path–good advice that no one can find too difficult. Happy Easter, Ceil!

    • Hi Pam! It’s funny, but we tend to see helping others as such a huge thing, very hard to do. But it can be as simple as a smile, a hug, or just being present. Great point Pam.

      May you have a wonderful Holy Week and blessed Easter too,
      Ceil

  8. Yes! Being alert to areas where we can be kind is key. I know I am often guilty of just living day to day and not even opening my eyes to what may be needed around me.

    • Hi Mari! You’re not the only one, believe me. My word for this year is ‘now’ and that really speaks to being available to people who need me in the moment.

      You help so many at your job, and it’s your mission to stay alert to your patients. I know you serve many with joy!

      Have a wonderful Holy Week and Easter celebration!
      Ceil

  9. Ah. My Friend, we loose sight of always being far more blessed than we bless. What a privilege – what joy to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
    May you draw near to Jesus this Holy Week, Ceil.
    Blessings!

    • Hi Lulu! What a GREAT point. I know I fall into that a lot. I want to know that I am blessed by God and through others, but am I just as excited to do the blessing? I love that perspective, thank you so much!

      May we find many ways to be Christ to others in this Holy Week.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  10. I agree, chocolate and acts of kindness should be part of every day! It is so true that our fears about how people will respond can hold us back from doing things to help or show love. I’m reading a book called “Listen, Love, Repeat” by Karen Ehman just now and it is all about the difference we can make to people by showing God’s love through our kindness. It is definitely something I want to be more intentional about doing and your post just reinforces this.

    • Hi Lesley! That sounds like a great book, and it’s so fun to know that the post dove-tailed with the theme of a book you’re reading. God is so good!

      I am working on being intentional too. My word for the year is ‘now’ so when is a better time to find ways to be kind to others?

      Have a wonderful Holy Week,
      Ceil

  11. Every day is chocolate day at your place …you’re my kind of women, Ceil. Such a good reminder to be attentive to small ways I can make a difference to those right around me. Too often I think we get caught up in trying to do something grand and miss the opportunities to show love in meaningful small ways daily. Have a great week.

    • Hi Wanda! Fellow chocolate lovers unite! I love that stuff.

      You make a good point about wanting to accomplish bold acts, and then miss the small things. God doesn’t measure our efforts, only that we try, so big or small, it’s all good.

      You have a wonderful Holy Week too. Thank you for visiting!
      Ceil

    • Hi Jeanette! I think we read about people doing huge, amazing things in the world (including Mother Teresa) and think we just can’t ever do anything like that. The tendency is to quit all together, which is so sad. We can do so many little things, things we are so capable of doing, and make a big difference. That’s is encouraging!

      Have a wonderful Holy Week too .
      Ceil

  12. I love this post, sweet friend. It is so true…we spend our time trying to think of some big thing to do for God, when all along, it is the small things that are big in His sight. Thank you for the gentle reminder. You are such a dear blessing!

    • Hi Cheryl! The small things are big…yes! Only we measure the things we do, God certainly doesn’t. Anything done with love is a ‘big thing’.

      Have a peaceful evening my friend. It’s always good to see you here,
      Ceil

  13. This is such a beautiful message, Ceil. Yes, every day should be “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” I love Mother Teresa’s quotes, too. Blessings and hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! It seems like many of us resonate with Mother Teresa’s words. What a loving and giving example of Christ she was…and knowing that I can be that too, on a smaller scale, is so encouraging.

      Blessings and hugs right back to you!
      Ceil

  14. Hi Ceil! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on random acts of kindness. Doing something kind really doesn’t have to cost a thing. Sometimes the smallest gesture of kindness, such as a smile, does far greater good than we can comprehend. It seems to me that the Lord would want us doing good to others, whenever and wherever we can.

    By the way, I’m with you on the chocolate! It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. 🙂

    Thank you for your most kind comment on my blog (I’ve responded to it).

    Have a most blessed Holy Week!

    Kim

    • Hi Kim! (I’ll head over after I finish writing here!)

      I really agree with your saying that kindness doesn’t have to cost anything. I was stopped at a stoplight today, and watched a young man walk down the street with a pot of spring flowers. He was so happy, just smiling away…it made me feel so joyful! And he’ll never know the kindness he did for me, making me so happy.

      Hope Easter brings some chocolate your way, and that you will have a wonderful Holy Week,
      Ceil

  15. Our safe zone is comfortable and in that zone is a pile of excuses to stay in the safe zone. I have been grateful for a husband that listened to the Lord about serving Him out of our comfort zone. We have had a full life and more to come, I mean we are only 70. Great post sister. Happy Easter.

    • Oh Betty, I love your comment! Heck yeah, you have a lot of life left to live, and a lot of love to give too. You have had an amazing life of service, who knows where God will call you next?

      I really enjoyed getting to know you better through Cheryl’s blog. Thanks for being interviewed there!

      Happiest of Easters to you too 🙂
      Ceil

  16. Everyday should be random acts of kindness day. You point out how we have taken things such as this and trivialized it by believing following through on one day is enough. I understand your friend’s fear factor in saying yes to God. But God loves when we say yes and he is right by our sides as we follow through. For me it is more of a fear of the unknown that trips me up. I like to know all the details before I do something. Thank you for helping me to stop and think about doing God’s work everyday.

    • Hi Mary! I am just like you, I really want to know how it’s all going to go before I jump in. I guess that is a fear of the unknown, or maybe for me, it’s more being a control freak!

      God does like hearing ‘yes’, because when he calls us, it’s to something that we’ll be great at, and I don’t want to miss that. May he help me overcome my need for the details, and just say yes!

      Have a blessed Holy Week,
      Ceil

  17. As we are led by the spirit, we should be obedient… I believe the gentle voice of the spirit speaks to our hearts to do things, and many times we ignore the gentle prods of the spirit in our hearts. A great reminder for all of us to be more obedient, instead of being fearful, as you mentioned, because we really have nothing to lose…God’s timing is always perfect… and one can never go wrong with chocolate {smiles} Big hugs to you Ceil, you always eloquently express the message the Lord has laid on your heart to share!

    • Hi MM! I know I’ve been guilty of ignoring the voice of the Spirit. Later, I wonder why I did that…what did I fear?

      Yes, God timing is always perfect, and I need to remember that too. And chocolate? Another winner!

      Thank you for your always uplifting comments, you always find a way to encourage me 🙂

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Ceil

  18. I agree with every thing you have written here Ceil. Acts of kindness not only help the person you are being kind to, it brings a comfort inside yourself because you know you have made someone’s life a little more comfortable – no matter how small your kind act may be. It always comes to mind ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you’.
    I think it would be very unkind Ceil if you did not share those brownies with me 🙂
    God bless you for ‘sharing’

    • Brenda, I totally get it. Those brownies look AMAZING, and I wish I could share with you! Yum…

      You really boil it all down to simple terms with referencing ‘do unto others’. Simple to say, not always simple to do. But with my faith settled deeply with God, I’ll be able to live the way he wants me to live, making others feel comforted and at peace.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Ceil

  19. I read somewhere recently that faith is spelled R-I-S-K. I was reminded that as I’m reading your post about doing random acts of kindness, not knowing how things will turn out. But the risk is worth it! Thanks for sharing this, Ceil.

    • Hi Lisa! I know you RISK a lot in your life Lisa, through your volunteer work and in your family. I love that analogy, by the way. Whenever we step outside of ourselves, we are not in control…but guess who is!

      May our weeks and years be filled with intentional acts of kindness, changing our communities one day at a time.

      Have a blessed Easter,
      Ceil

  20. This is beautiful, Ceil! Yes, every day we can find an act of kindness to do for another. Many of us minister to those in our home and church families that need extra doses of compassion. It can be as simple as putting the dishes in the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen (which my son did for me recently) and it truly blessed me!

    Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

    • Hi Anne! I think you bring up an excellent point. The people we serve do not need to be in terrible situations, they might need ‘extra doses of compassion’ as you so beautifully said. Help is help, the size of it never matters. Only the kindness behind it.

      You have a wonderful Easter too!
      Ceil

  21. good exploration of kindness, an element so needed in our world. Reminded of the series of posts Martha Orlando is writing about her hubby’s health crisis. Her latest post was full of kindness of others for them in their need. May we both practice kindness daily and receive some too.

    • Hi Jean! I am also following Martha’s posts, it’s an amazing story! I am looking forward to following it to the conclusion. You are so right, what kindness is shown, and even by her husband to her in the ambulance. His thoughtfulness, knowing she was nervous, was so inspiring.

      Have a blessed Triduum and Easter my friend!
      Ceil

  22. We never know what just one simple act of kindness can do. And we may never know either…that’s not why we are to do them. The world is full of so much strife. Just a simple smile or kind word can bless someone who is having a bad day to the max! Super post, Ceil! I pray you will celebrate a wonderful Easter weekend!

    • Hi Debby! Great insight, we aren’t supposed to serve others so we’ll find out how it was received. That’s up to God and that person. We just do as God asked…love our neighbor. Love that. Thanks!

      Have a great time with your family Debby, celebrating the Risen Lord,
      Ceil

  23. I agree, one day of celebration is nice, but it should be part of our daily lives. We can be a wonderful testimony in that respect. Trusting the Lord to show me opportunities all the time. Have a great weekend, Ceil! 🙂

    • Hi Karen! I think if you are asking to see the places to serve, he’ll find all kinds of ways to show you where you can go. You have a willing spirit, so just sit back and listen to him tell you all about it!

      Blessings to you my friend, and have a wonderful weekend too,
      Ceil

  24. Hi Ceil, First of all, when is this National Chocolate Day? 🙂 LOL I definitely missed it. As for the Random Acts of Kindness Day, I look at it the same way as, “When is the Sabbath?”. Everyday!

    I think you post is a great way of saying the same thing the Lord said, when asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”. “Love the Lord thy God, with all your heart, soul, mind and spirit” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The only way to do it, is to do it everyday.

    What?
    Love
    When?
    Everyday
    How?
    Just do it.

    No vacation from treating each other with Kindness, that is birthed out of Love.

    With that said, I think I’ll incorporate the National Chocolate Day, with the same approach.

    Everyday!

    Have a Great, Loving Kindness Day, My Friend, with a side dish of Chocolate.

    How can you go wrong with that? 🙂 LOL

    • Hi Keith! National Chocolate Day is October 28th, so you can start saving your pennies for a big chocolate bar!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We are called to love and serve every day, no matter the month or week. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is pretty clear, isn’t it?

      Have a wonderful weekend and Easter celebration…hopefully with some chocolate!
      Ceil

  25. Ah… this is beautiful Ceil. What an important message and yes, I was nodding with your reasons why we don’t serve our neighbor more. Sigh…

    And we are called to reach out and love those around us with ‘acts of kindness’ always… And yet- so very often, we don’t.

    Such a convicting truth to consider now more than ever.

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for your kind words about the post, I appreciate them!

      I hope you have a wonderful Easter celebration with your family and friends, and may God bless you abundantly,
      Ceil

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