Choose Kindness

By Leah Swank, Partnership Coordinator

Going into this holiday season, my husband and I are experiencing a variety of firsts. This past week, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. While many have unique holiday traditions, we took to making our own this year. For example, we began decorating for Christmas the day before Thanksgiving (insert gasp), opted for for enchiladas instead of turkey and stuffing (insert bigger gasp), and if that wasn’t enough, we went Black Friday shopping on Friday-emphasis on the DAY in Friday (insert shocked face). And yes, it was awesome!

While on our Black Friday adventure, we decided to grab a bite to eat before braving the madness of the stores we planned on visiting. As we waited for our food, I couldn’t help but notice a women standing on the side of the road just outside my window. In Oklahoma City, poverty and homelessness are seen daily at busy intersections downtown. This woman sat on top of what I assume was everything she owned-two duffle bags, a jacket, and a backpack. By the time our food had arrived, I kept watching her and the countless cars that passed her by.  I finally looked across the table at Devin and asked if we could buy this lady lunch.

I don’t typically do stuff like this, but I genuinely believe it was the Holy Spirit stirring inside of me to have compassion on this women. Little did I know then, that through my short encounter with this woman, I would be taught a powerful lesson on a simple concept that I often forget to incorporate in my relationship with the Lord- kindness.

When her food was ready, I walked outside and said hello. She turned around, saying hello back, looking super uncomfortable. I asked her what her name was, she responded with Christy. Before I knew what was happening, I gave her the meal and the change I had in my wallet.  She thanked me and asked if I had seen her sign, as if that was why I was bringing her food. I was aware she was holding a small cardboard sign, but hadn’t seen the words written on it.

Christy turned around and showed me the sign she had been holding which read, “Be salt. Be light. Be kind.” It took everything in me to not let my jaw hit the ground. Christy thanked me for the lunch and told me to have a blessed day. She then gathered all she had with her and found a shady spot to eat her meal.

That was four days ago and I can still see the words written on Christy’s sign.

Matthew 5:13-16 reads,

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I don’t know about you, but I am guilty on several occasions of operating my walk with Christ as if I had blinders on.  I get stuck in a routine that often leads me to neglecting some of the most basic opportunities to be salt and light in my community. I begin to lose my saltiness when I chose to look at the world around me through my own eyes rather than through the eyes of Christ. My light merely flickers when I shift my focus to my own wants and needs rather than what Christ is asking of me.

Google the word kindness, you will find it can be defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It was through my brief interaction with Christy, that I learned kindness is the avenue to being salt and light to our friends, family, and community. One simple act of kindness can speak volumes and can touch a person so much deeper than we will ever know. It is also through acts of kindness that the we are given a glimpse of the glory and wonder of Jesus Christ.

What Google doesn’t tell you is that kindness is a choice. When we choose kindness, salt and light are sure to follow. So what will you choose?

As we enter into a season of celebrating Christ, I pray that you will join me in challenging yourself to do one act of kindness each day. Share how these acts of kindness have impacted you and together let us become salt and light in our communities.