Earlier this week a minister friend called me and asked would I be willing to speak in his place at the local nursing home service on Wednesday. He had to be out of town that evening and hoped I would be able to fill in. I usually attend the nursing home devotional even when I am not speaking, but on Sunday I had thought on my drive home that I would make other plans for Wednesday night. Nothing sinister mind you, but I thought I might attend a different congregation's service nearby or just take a week off from midweek speaking. When he called, of course, I changed my mental plans and told him I would be happy to fill-in.
I chose to speak on kindness at the nursing home service. Kindness is something practical and it is something that you have almost complete control over. You cannot always choose your circumstances (illness, old age, confinement), but you can choose how you will react to those situations. I encouraged the elderly folks in attendance to choose kindness on a daily basis. I emphasized the importance of a kind word, a friendly gesture and a gentle smile. This lesson hit home with me also of course. How many times have I been short when I should have been generous? How many times have I hustled through a human interaction without noticing the person much less smiling at him or her?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that we all need to be more kind. Usually it is simply a matter of taking the time and giving the effort to speak an extra greeting, give a friendly nod or even share a quick hug. Why not make a decision to go out of your way (and perhaps out of your comfort zone) to do an extra act of kindness each day? You will be an encouragement to others and will receive a blessing yourself.