My seven-year-old son recently brought me to tears. Although as toddlers, my children have brought me close to tears by using my brand new lipstick to draw pictures on the mirror, or painting the walls with nappy cream or pouring litres of milk on my white carpet, this time was different. These were tears that came from an old lesson being brought to modern times through the kindness of a little boy. It was a simple act of kindness but one that carried enormous power.
A parent, from the school my children attend, approached my husband to tell him how touched he was by our son’s actions. His son had forgotten his hat and had to sit out at lunchtime, missing out on playtime. My son gave him his own hat and let his friend go and play while he sat out and took his friends’ punishment.
‘That is amazing!’ the parent said, ‘who does that?’
This simple act reminded me of something Jesus would do. He was letting his light shine intuitively. This is not an article about my son but about the simple acts of kindness that surprise and bless because they are unusual in this day and age.
Have you ever noticed how ‘crazed’ people are at the supposedly ‘happiest time of the year’? Shopping centres become a free-for-all, present-grabbing frenzy, leaving no room for manners, not to mention the car parking fiascoes. If we survive pre-Christmas shopping uninjured, we definitely have something to praise the Lord for on Christmas Day!
But it is during this time that the smallest smile, the giving way, the ‘after you’, politeness in the smallest of forms, stands out as extremely memorable and heart-warming at the end of the day. The fact that someone has stopped to think of someone other than him or herself is, in effect, the very nature of God.
Philippians chapter two verses three and four says, ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.’
History is rampant with the selfish desires of the human heart. It is by no means improving in today’s world. We see its extreme effects in the suffering of abused and discarded children. We see it in the hoarding of wealth at the cost of the starving. We see it in the form of people dying alone, of the sick being unvisited, in schoolyard bullying, of drunken road-raging, and the list goes on. To think beyond oneself is not a difficult thing, it is only overlooked for the easier option of serving the self. Yet, to serve others brings joy that cannot be matched by selfish desires.
Consequently, a seven year old has reminded me once again that ‘…the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13) and how powerful that is!
Perhaps start with a smile and watch that spark catch fire, there’s nothing quite so contagious. You never know who might just need it.
‘You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,’ Matthew chapter 5 verses 14-16.
First published Christian Today Australia 21 October 2012 http://www.christiantoday.com.au/article/let.your.light.shine/14277.htm