Is the kindness of strangers a thing of the past? Maybe, but I won’t stop helping little elderly ladies no matter how menacing I look. Let me explain.
I was walking out of the grocery store and noticed a woman’s purse next to her car door. I quickly moved in to help (no need to get into the phone booth and tear open my shirt to show a large “S” for this one). As I saw myself picking up the purse and waving it outside her car window I realized that she was not impressed. In fact, she was seemingly mortified. I suppose I scared her. I look like plenty of things, but threatening is not one of them. She rolled down her window just enough to grab her purse (and by “grab” I mean she almost yanked my arm out of it’s socket). Maybe, I should’ve changed into my parson collar, then she would have known that I meant no harm.
Walking back to my car with my ego a bit bruised, I realized how easy it would be just to get mad about the whole exchange. I thought, ”I was just trying to help! See if I ever stop to help someone again!” But this isn’t in our spiritual DNA; we’re wired by the Spirit of God. That doesn’t mean I’m always in a great mood (I’m a bit suspicious of that person that is so chipper at 6:30 am anyway). It simply means that we treat people with decency. No matter what they look, smell or act like, we’re called to be “life” not “death” in their lives. So, who is it that could use a kind smile today? Who could use an encouraging word, text or email?
Now I know it may not be easy to be “life” to people all the time, but that’s what the journey is about; learning to love.
Sometimes, it works great and people respond to you with genuine thankfulness. Other times it feels like you’re being abused (like maybe your arm was almost removed because a stranger snatched her purse, and rolled her window up in one fluid motion – with the speed of a cheetah). In any case…be “life” to them anyway.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
Matt Hastings lives with his wife Keri and their five children in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is the pastor of the Estill Springs Church of the Nazarene. [Editor’s Note: Matt has graciously allowed us to republish his weekly email devotionals on our site for our readers.]