There’s a man who walks the streets of our town. He wears an oversized coat, giant rain boots, and always carries a garbage bag. With thick glasses and an unruly mop of white hair, he walks through the town, picking up garbage and chatting with whoever crosses his path.
This man has fascinated me since we’ve moved here. I’ve only been home a handful of times since the move, but I’m curious to know his story. What is it that causes him to pour kindness into the community around him? As far as I know, years ago he and his wife and daughter were in a car accident. He lost both his wife and daughter on that fateful day.
And now, he fills his time serving the community. Just this afternoon, he walked by our home, noticed a dishcloth that had fallen off the line, picked it up and came over to hang it back up in its rightful spot. I watched him from the window limber slowly over, his age showing as he made his way across our porch. And I couldn’t help but swell with gratitude for the small act of kindness towards my family.
It’s just a dishcloth, maybe. But it made me think about the acts of kindness I do. Do I look for thanks? Do I do them to be noticed, to be appreciated for my good works? It seems to me that this man shows kindness without ever asking for thanks. He does it without regard for whether or not there is a woman peering at him through a window noticing as he walks up to her porch; he does it not so I would run out and thank him. It was selfless. It was pure. And it was kindness in a rare form.
He doesn’t even know it, but by picking up that dishcloth he challenged me to pursue kindness in that rare form. To show kindness not because one deserves it; not because I deserve thanks in return. But show kindness because it is rare. Because it is precious. Because it is lovely.
Ephesians 6:7 – “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”