“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” Matthew 5:16
I was sitting in the library studying for a test a few years ago. My computer and papers were all laid out when I left to go to dinner. When I came back, there was a large chocolate chip cookie left on one of my books. On top of the cookie was a small business card that said an organization on campus had started a trend of random acts of kindness. The only thing the card said to do was pass it along anonymously. I felt so honored that a stranger had been kind enough to buy me this delicious, large cookie. I loved the idea and was excited to participate.
When you see someone doing a good deed, you feel inspired to do a little something extra for someone else. As much as Liberty Mutual might advertise how these ‘Pay it Forward’ feelings turn into actions, I don’t think it’s quite that easy. The project at Sewanee was estimated to last the entire semester before dying out; however, it didn’t last more than a few weeks.
People felt special and loved upon receiving their act of kindness, but people didn’t always pass it on. I’m not sure if people were forgetful or if they blatantly decided to toss aside the business card, but the number of those cards dwindled quickly. It’s hard to turn a feeling into an action.
Matthew 5:16 is one of my favorite verses. Jesus tells us to shine our light for the glory of God. There are so many actions done that don’t inspire a true change in behavior in others. Why do some acts of kindness inspire people to change and pass along their card and others are tossed aside?
I really believe that when working through Christ, His love shines through. When someone is shining their light for God’s glory, it’s noticeably contagious. In no way is a random act of kindness bad, but in order for that kindness to spread, I believe there has to be inspiration from a higher power. When people show optional kindness for the purpose of glorifying God, it is magnificent what changes in people.
I personally remember seeing God’s love in a wide range of mentors when I was younger. Some of these people were youth advisors, others teachers, and also camp counselors. These unselfish, loving relationships led me to take dramatic steps closer to God.
One of the most tangible examples of this is the candle we receive at camp. Whenever it is lit in the future, we are reminded of Christ’s love and how to change our lives to better glorify Him. Now, as a young adult, I’ve seen which mentors have stuck with me over the years. The professors, counselors, and professional mentors that have changed my life are the ones that have spiritually impacted me.
When God acts through people, His love is strikingly remarkable. You can’t help but pass it along.