Thursday, June 02, 2016

Random Acts . . . Paying it Forward by Peter A. Black

We got here so fast, it seems, on the threshold of summer – a season for observing the process of growth and development of what was sown in spring.

Whereas spring speaks to our human need for awakening to new possibilities and taking steps to prepare for them, summer speaks of our need for growth in person and character and spiritual grace.  
Here's my column article (modified) published today in The Standard Guide Advocate):
“Two shot dead and three wounded, one with life-threatening injuries, in what is believed to be a random act of violence . . .” Such headlines are all too common. In this opening news scenario the randomness of the murderous act didn’t exist alone; there would have been an element of intentionality on part of the perpetrator of the crime. Thankfully there are other kinds of random acts.

Recently, my Beloved and I met out of town with another couple for lunch and a visit. When ready to leave we asked for our bills. Surprise! Surprise!
“There are no bills – someone already paid for your meals,” the server smiled. “Wow! That’s wonderful, but how may we thank our benefactor?” I asked. “Oh, you can’t,” she said, “The person wishes to remain anonymous.” 

Perhaps the generous individual left home that morning with the thought of performing a random act of kindness for someone. However, they couldn’t have known until that lunch hour to whom they would direct their generosity, for May and I drove almost an hour to the location, while our lunch friends journeyed about the same from the opposite direction.

Individuals, couples and other groups were dining there at the same time as we, and yet we were the ones who became recipients of that random act of generosity.
Ever experienced either of those types of randomness? You were the happy recipient of some unforeseen act of kindness? Or you were dismayed to find yourself on the receiving end of an evil hostile deed?

Kind, generous friends of ours received a nasty surprise several weeks ago when their home was broken into and they were robbed. And yet, I know these friends won’t stop doing good; they’ll continue to trust God and perform gracious deeds.

The phrase “Paying it forward” has buzzed around in recent years. It’s an OK term. One way we can pay a kindness forward is to perform a kind deed – perhaps a similar one – for someone else, randomly. That is, to do it spontaneously and unpretentiously, with no expectation of reward, especially if remaining anonymous.
Goodness multiplies when people do kind things for others who, in turn, sow seeds of kindness in the soil of other folk’s lives and circumstances, because their harvest yields even more seed to be sown. Therefore, more people receive benefit, for when the receivers act in grace, paying it forward, the world becomes so much brighter and better a place and God’s light and love shine through.

In contrast, when evil is repeated and paid forward the world grows darker. Anger, hate and revenge ensue, families feud against each other, criminal elements even up their scores, while tribes and nations go to war and kill and maim.

A senior lady and her daughter’s pleasant trail walk ended when the mom fell. She was quite shaken up and sustained gravel cuts. A lady offered assistance. Later the mom said, “I was blown away . . . didn’t even know the woman, yet she helped my daughter get me up again. She took us to her home nearby so I could bathe and dress my bleeding knee and scraped up hands, and even provided adhesive bandages. Such kindness . . . She insisted we stay for coffee and scones.”
Remember the Good Samaritan? His random act of compassionate kindness was also intentional. Amazing isn’t it? God’s kingdom comes as we live in grace intentionally, amidst the seeming randomness of life’s circumstances.


~ Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart

~ Parables from the Pond



Ruth Smith Meyer said...

I love stories about random acts of kindness and I love doing them! Even though I rarely know the outcome, I have received satisfaction from doing them and keep praying that the receivers will feel blessed and drawn to the best Giver of all.

Thanks for sharing your story, Peter. You are such an encourager yourself!

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Ruth. I'm sure that your lifetime of living each day prayerfully and purposefully has brought - and continues to bring - blessing and joy into the lives of many through the Giver of every good and perfect gift.~~+~~

Glynis said...

Oh Peter. You are so right. What a wonderful world this would be (thanks, Louis Armstrong. Now I'm singing) I LOVE to hear about random acts of kindness, too. Sometimes when people have been so kind and generous and you just don't know how (or who) to repay, the very best thing to do is to pay it forward. A friend taught me that 8 years ago! Lovely post. Thanks, Peter.

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