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The Missional Power of Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness

The Missional Power of Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness

We’ve all heard that phrase random acts of kindness. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But today, I want to share something much, much more powerful with you.

Not-so-random acts of kindness. Deliberate acts of kindness.

I recently spent 3 days with a man for whom kindness is a way of life. And what I saw, blew me away.

When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

His name is Greg and over the last few years, he’s become a close friend of mine. In some ways we’re very similar Greg and I. In other ways, we’re quite different.

He pastors a church in a small country town in Australia, population around 20,000. It’s a great place, lovely people, but not a wealthy town by any means. He arrived there to take up his new post a few years ago, and it wasn’t easy.

His wife and children had to live in another town for almost a year, so that their children could finish off their schooling. That meant that they spent a year living apart until they could be together again, which is tough on any family.

So … imagine that this new guy, Pastor Greg, hits town. Nobody knows who he is, what he’s like, whether or not they can trust him. And his job is to serve the local community; to help people. Wow – where do you even begin?

He’s told me about those early days and things were really difficult. Financially, the church was small. Emotionally, being separated from his family. And just getting started – as people wondered whether he was “okay”. 

That was just a handful of years ago. I visited him recently for a few days because I had some things to do in this town, and as friends do, we just hung out together.

 

The Magnet

And this is what I observed: it doesn’t matter where we went, people stopped him in the street.

Little girls ran up and hugged him – just in the street, you know. We were sitting in a coffee shop, trying to have a quiet cup of coffee together, but people were walking past waving, saying hi, coming in to chat. He knew the people in the kitchens of the places we ate at. We couldn’t even buy a wretched lettuce in the supermarket fruit and veggie aisle, without a young woman in need approaching him, and him organising a follow-up meeting for the following day.

This it seems, is not a recent phenomenon. When they moved to this town, one of his kids said “Mum, I wonder how long it’ll be until we can’t walk down the street with dad without being stopped anymore.”

It apparently, was only a few months.

Often, being accepted into a small community like that, can take a while. But it seems that for Greg – it’s a few months. You won’t be surprised to learn that his church has more than doubled (almost trebled) in size since he arrived and … anyway, I could go on and on and on.

 

So What’s the Secret?

How does a newcomer to a small community develop such recognition, such respect and influence in such a short amount of time? I’ll tell you how.

Greg is a kind person.

He always has a kind word, he’s always doing a kind deed, he’s always connecting people and helping people and helping people to help other people.

For him, kindness isn’t a random act. It’s a way of life. 

His kindness is like a magnet. It stands out like a beacon of light in the darkness. People are drawn to it.

You know that’s true. When someone is kind to you – and the most common sort of kindness is the small, seemingly insignificant sort – it lights up your world.

 

INSIGHT: Kindness is missional.

Put on then, as God’s people, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. (Col 3:12)


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5 Comments

  1. “Deliberate acts of kindness”… How powerful when they are Spirit led instead of just “random acts of kindness.” So true! This is how we are mean to live! Thanks for pointing that out. Hollywood sometimes gets it so close to right. It feels right but we need to check with God’s word to get it spot on and fruitful. What a way to change the world! Love it!

  2. I know many small country towns in Western Australia have least than 5000 in them yet have a close community often over looked by city people yet lovely places to live in good to hear some are letting the world know the true message of the gospel Malcolm D

  3. The small town community is the heart of the nation yet they’re so often overshadowed by the big town mentality. There are everyday acts of kindness occurring every day. Praise God!!!

    • That is so true, even on holiday in New Zealand I noticed the kindness and welcoming of the people. It is a very attracting quality… Do you live in a small town Wendy?

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