The other day I was in Walmart, getting ready to pay for my groceries, when I realized I’d forgotten my wallet. I thought I’d left it in the car. To make matters worse, the cashier had just spent several moments price matching most of the items for me.
When she asked me if I wanted to leave my groceries there while I got my wallet, I started to say yes….But I wasn’t so sure that it was in the car. More than likely, it was still at home!
As I paused for a minute to gather my thoughts, the gentleman behind me asked how much my total was.
Our conversation went something like this:
Gentleman: “I’ll get it. I’ve done stuff like that before.”
Me: “You don’t have to do that! Thank you so much. I feel bad that she took the time to ring all that up and I don’t even have my wallet.”
Gentleman: “I know. Don’t worry about it. You can just pay it forward.”
What does one say to that??
“God bless you”? I wish I’d thought of that one, but all I could do was say thanks and agree to help someone else out down the road.
I don’t know about you, but I and the check out lady were pretty impressed. Her comment was, “Well, I guess there are some decent people left in the world after all!”
As I drove home, I started thinking: Why do these “random acts of kindness” seem so rare? And what about all those times that I could have helped someone out?
Here’s what I came up with: I think it’s all too easy to focus on ourselves, and what we think we “need” to be doing, instead of focusing on everyday moments and taking advantage of the opportunities we have to be kind to others. I’ll admit, it’s far too easy to be all about me, instead of all about what I can do for others.
I call myself a follower of Christ, yet am I truly willing to live as He did while here on earth? In other words, do I love people enough to do something about it?
Think about this: Some people will never get to hear you talk about Christ, and they may only have a few minutes of interaction with you. You may never see them again. But it’s in those small moments of interaction, that we have the opportunity to say something with our actions that is far more powerful than any words we may ever speak.
Oh, and we have other hang-ups too.
We worry that we will look silly. Or that we won’t really be able to help. Maybe they won’t appreciate our gesture.
It’s then that we must ask ourselves, do all of these excuses really matter? What is the worst that could happen?
When I think about everything I’ve done, I often realize that it’s the things I didn’t do that bother me most. Like when we were in the ER and a girl sat alone, crying by herself – and I did nothing. How I wish I could go back and change that day! Then I would go over and speak to her. Ask her if I could help somehow. Ask if I could pray for her. At least she would know that someone cares.
So may I encourage you to not be like me? Don’t be afraid to do what you know is right. You never know what kind of an impact a seemingly simple gesture may have on someone.
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