In Lessons Learned in Life, Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet dog in the comic strip Peanuts said, “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen. Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted. Smile, cherish the little things, and remember to hug the ones you really love.” Snoopy’s profound quote reminds me of a verse I read recently in Luke 6:38 [ESV]: It states, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Basically, these two statements tell me that we may encounter tough times, but we should keep doing kind things for others, and when we do that, we will be blessed – not necessarily in verbal praise or in monetary ways, but by having a happy heart and receiving joy by showing kindness to others!
A few weeks ago I was in Star Furniture looking for some new chairs for my living room. As I was strolling the aisles, a lovely, elderly employee named Raymond* eyed me and told me I reminded him of his country – South Africa. I was intrigued as to why he said that since I just returned from living in Africa for two years. He quickly told me the leopard shirt I was wearing triggered memories of his birthplace and where he had lived most of his life. I told Raymond that my husband and I had just enjoyed a lovely vacation in Cape Town, South Africa ending our trek with an intriguing safari at the River Lodge Reserve in S.A. He bubbled over sharing about the country he had left 15 years ago for a move to the United States. I had made a Shutterfly photo book of our South Africa vacation which, when I told him about it, he wanted to see it. I emailed the link to our book to his wife’s email account later that day.
Then, yesterday, I needed to go back to Star Furniture to order a replacement piece for a piece of furniture I had bought there years ago. On my errand, I decided to throw my Shutterfly book into a bag for Raymond to see in case his wife overlooked my email or didn’t know how to open the file which I figured might be the case because of her age. [Please, don’t blast me for elder age discrimination, but I know how my parents are with their computer!]
Luckily, Raymond was working in the store when I returned. We both sat down on one of the store couches while he intently looked at every picture. He commented on places he had been: Table Mountain, Table Bay Hotel, and the Cape Town coastline. He smiled as he saw familiar sites and asked questions when he saw something new. He complimented my photographic skills especially when he was looking at the hyenas, tigers, and giraffes. As I sat there watching his joy, he even stopped to educate me on South Africa’s sausage tree* when I asked him about it.
Raymond was a true picture of gratefulness. His joy made my heart full. It wasn’t a big effort on my part to place the book in my bag as I was heading out to Star. It didn’t take a lot of time to sit with him and let him ponder the good old days. I was reminded that thoughtfulness towards others creates blessings on both sides. And, please don’t take me wrong. I hope I am not sounding proud by sharing this story. I pray this blog is taken with all the humility I can muster. But, I wanted to share how sometimes just a small gesture of love is all that is needed to create a pocket of happiness for someone else.
As I read AOL’s online news yesterday, there was an article about a 5 year old boy, Josiah Duncan, who noticed a disheveled, homeless man sitting down at a Waffle House in Alabama. Josiah was sitting with his mom when he noticed that no one was waiting on him. He became troubled so he started asking his mother some questions and she explained what it meant to be homeless. Soon afterwards this young boy “jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu.” When asked what he wanted to eat, the man asked if he could have some bacon. Josiah told the man he could have as much bacon as he wanted. Before the man “chowed” down his bacon, this young boy asked the man if they could bless the food. He agreed and 11 other customers began to pray. Wow! This one small gesture directly affected not only the homeless man, but also his mother, himself, and 11 other customers.
Let’s all pray to develop a lifestyle of kind gestures. It really is the little things that count. And, as Snoopy says, “Never take a day for granted.”
God bless you.
Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21 ESV
Lord, let me lift my spirit up to you: today, this week, and this month. Help me to create a lifestyle of kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. Remind me it is the little gestures in life that sometimes mean so much to others. Remove any empty gestures of love I may be tempted to show. Allow me to be an instrument of Your love – touching others with loving acts of kindness. Amen.
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