Friday, February 13, 2015

Well Buttered Bread by Ruth Smith Meyer

Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days”—and someone has added “well-buttered!”

That casting your bread upon the waters is similar to random acts of kindness, the suggested theme for this month.

The first time I read about Random Acts of Kindness was in a Reader’s Digest article many years ago.  It captured my mind and for months and even years, I periodically tried to think of things I could do to brighten someone’s day—a plate of cookies for a busy mom, folding the dry clothes from a neighbours line and stacking them neatly in her wash basket, a Tim’s gift certificate in for the mailman, a container of soup for a mom of one of my bus kids who I knew had just returned from the hospital, a suggestion for a helpful routine to my Sunday school pupils—whatever crossed my mind when I saw a need.  It became a way of life for me—sometimes more frequent than others.  When this idea was new to me, I got a real rise from just doing it that lasted for days.  As those times became more routine, I still feel satisfaction and thankfulness, but now it’s a deeper, quieter sense of working with God.

Random acts of kindness that are deliberate and thought out are good, but I often feel the best ones are those we do in our regular day without thinking what the results may be.  Just recently, a pastor who was in my Sunday School class as a young teenager sent me a gift.  I knew from the shape and feel that it was a book.  When I read her letter and her expression of thanks, I was astounded.

For several weeks those many years ago, I had handed each of my students an envelope with seven short scriptures on separate pieces of paper with instructions to choose one each morning, read it over several times and then stick it in their pockets or wallets, carry it with them and read it again now and then through the day. They were amazed at how relevant those scriptures were each day. One of them wondered how I knew what they were going through. I explained that is what the Word of God is like. It applies itself to our everyday living—that the very same verse may take on different meanings depending on our circumstances.
On a whim, I had bought each of my pupils a small Hilroy note book and suggested to them that they entitle them, God’s dealing in the life of ________ (and insert their name.)  I told them to share in the journal their struggles and how God met them in the midst of those times: their joys and how God brought pleasure to their moments. I suggested that after a while they go back and read their record and indicated that they may be quite surprised at how good God is and how evident is his work in their lives.

The gift from this dear girl, now a grown woman was one of those books with empty pages.  It wasn’t just a simple exercise book, it has a beautiful cover.   She told me she has filled many books since the one I gave her and often she goes back through them and is amazed at how God has led her through both difficult and triumphant times.  The entries weren’t always daily, but those journals were a record of her growth and understanding of God’s touch on her life.  She was expressing thanks and passing back an act of kindness.  How special for her to offer me thanks so many years later.

I had long ago forgotten that piece of bread cast on the waters, but now it came back—well-buttered. 

Watch for Ruth Smith Meyer's newest book--Out of the Ordinary--the story of her life.


David Kitz said...

Ruth, what a wonderful account of sowing and reaping a harvest of righteousness many years later. What an encouragement for us to do likewise!

Peter Black said...

Beautiful! Thanks Ruth. As I read I thought of Philippians 2: 12-14. And especially v 13: ". . . it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose"
Your lovely story shows the fruit of your working with God, who worked His grace in you! ~~+~~

fudge4ever said...

This is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
Pam M.

Glynis said...

What a beautiful story. How true that is that the best reward is the least expected. I always scoffed a little when 'random act of kindness' day rolled around. I would always 'harumph' and wonder why we cannot do acts of kindness without having someone tell us to through a special day. But I think, like you imply, we have to start somewhere. And if we start with it being more structured then so be it. Hopefully it will lead to becoming second nature. Nice reflection, Ruth.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

A great story. Isn't it so fulfilling when, years after the fact, someone comes to your door and confirms your service to God?

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