How to be a Light to the World part 1: Acts of kindness

How can we be a light to the world? Is there value in being a gift to others? How can selflessness bring joy into our lives? 🤔Let’s discuss!

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Today we start a new series that examines the Bible scripture Matthew 5:16.  In this scripture,  Jesus is speaking His Sermon on the Mount.  

The Amplified Bible scripture reads:

Let your light shine before men in such
a way that they may see your good deeds
and moral
excellence, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

What did Jesus mean by letting our light shine?  In this series we will explore 5 ways that we can be a light to the world in our walk with God.

Here are the topics we will be exploring:

  • Show kindness
  • Help those who are in need
  • Do no harm
  • Honor your temple (body)
  • Pray

If you’d like to check out all of the messages in this series, feel free to do so:

In this message, let’s dive into how we can show kindness to others.

So I want to start with a question.  When you receive a gift is it more meaningful when it is expected, such as on a birthday or an anniversary vs when you receive a gift of some kind out of the blue?  I think for most of us, the unexpected and even unwarranted gifts can be some of the most precious gifts of all.

Gifts can come in all shapes and sizes.  It can come from a gesture of kindness, an offering of support or even something material. 

Today I want to explore the type of gifts that come from within you.  The kindness that originates from the light of God that lives in you.

The thing about kindness is that it is truly universal.  You can practice kindness to a complete stranger or to a loved one.

The thing about kindness is that it is truly universal. 

Some of the most powerful forms of kindness are acts of kindness that are selfless.  By this I mean, you receive absolutely nothing in return for your act of kindness from the recipient of your kind gesture.

Examples of acts of kindness

Let’s go over some general ways we can practice kindness to others:

  • Give a compliment
  • Do an act of service for someone else
  • Be respectful
  • Show and express gratitude
  • Saying kind words

These are just some of the ways we can practice kindness to others and it allows us to express God’s love through us to others.   One of the things I encourage you to do each day is to ask God to place someone in your path so that you can practice kindness.

Here are some practical ways that kindness can show up day to day:

  • Compliment someone on their clothing or hair
  • Leave a positive review for a business you recently patronized
  • Write a handwritten card to someone to say thank you
  • Place your empty grocery cart back to the cart collection area instead of just leaving it where you parked
  • Shovel snow off the sidewalk for a neighbor or for your neighborhood
  • Pick up trash on the ground and put it in the garbage.
  • Let someone go in front of you in line.
  • Make dinner for a friend or family member.
  • Purchase a warm meal for a homeless person.
  • Hold the door for the person walking behind you.
  • Be on time
  • Be an organ donor
  • Volunteer

     

And here are some additional acts of kindness you can do at work or school:

  • Bring extra snacks to share with others
  • Mentor someone
  • Help others when they need help
  • Provide a note of appreciation to a colleague 
  • Buy a cup of coffee

     

These are just some ways that we all can practice kindness in the world day to day.  Do you do any of these acts? If so, great. I encourage everyone within the sound of my voice to seek out acts of kindness as your way to show God’s light in you to the world.

I’d like to also touch on an aspect of kindness that may be more difficult to discuss.  Showing kindness to others that at the very least do not show kindness to you or at worst are others who may have caused you pain or suffering. 

We live in a world of tit-for-tat and you do me wrong, I do wrong back to you.  I want to invite you to consider another approach to people who have wronged you.  Kindness.

I want to invite you to consider another approach to people who have wronged you.  Kindness.

I’d like to briefly share an example from my life.  Once upon a time I was at a workplace that I enjoyed.  It was my first role outside of training and I was excited about the new role.  A time came that a new manager arrived.   Everyone there knew I had lots of experience but was still learning more current technologies.  This manager sat me down and began to lambast me for my lack of skills, my lack of basic understanding.  His voice was raised, his face was beet red and he seemed flustered and furious.  I was so bewildered as to what was happening. 

After our meeting, I asked to leave for the rest of the day. Now, there is a way to express concerns of performance or skills to a subordinate and what happened was not the way. I honestly did not see such a visceral reaction coming.

I was still on very good terms with the owner of the company, but even so I eventually would be invited to either stay with ‘one more issue and you are fired’ or quit.  I decided to quit. Honestly, to this day I do not know what trigger point prompted what happened.  I felt what happened was quite unfair and unjustified. That if there were concerns they could have been voiced and I was given an opportunity for training.  

Now, with that background – It was an opportunity for sure to be salty or bitter.  I definitely had to pray quite a bit in those days for strength to show up to work despite what happened and be calm around the individual.  By the grace of God I was kind.  I showed kindness to everyone there until my last day, at which time I offered physical gifts of appreciation to everyone for the time we had together, including the individual that lambasted me.  In this circumstance, I chose kindness in response to what I felt was an unfair and unfortunate situation. 

Have you had an unfair or unfortunate situation occur with you? How did you handle it?  Did you cuss the person out or did you respond with kindness?  Did you find a way to get revenge or did you ask God for strength to have peace in your heart.  

Sometimes – when there is a difficult situation, kindness can simply be – restraint.

When someone cut you off on the road did you flip them off or did you thank God there was not an accident and pray for the individual that they would gain wisdom?

Sometimes – when there is a difficult situation, kindness can simply be – restraint.  When someone cusses you out or embarrasses you or wrongs you, sometimes kindness can just be to pray for calm and not act as the world would act.  

Kindness is such a wonderful gift.  It can be an opportunity to bring joy into someone’s life and as I explained in my job example it can be an unexpected way of neutralizing a very volatile situation. Keeping kindness in your heart as you go about your day gives you an opportunity to be a beacon of light not just for those receiving your kindness but also for those who may be observing you.  By observing your kindness towards others, more people can learn of the glory of God that lives within you and seek that same light to live within them.

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