This past August, in St. Petersburg, Florida, some undercover kindness began at 7 a.m., when a woman in the drive thru paid for her iced coffee and a stranger’s caramel macchiato in the car behind her. This “drive-thru kindness” lasted 11 hours, with 378 people paying for each stranger’s caffeine fix in the car behind them.
That’s a LOT of coffee. And a lot of kindness!
Anonymous drivers joined in the undercover kindness because they just wanted people to feel special, to feel like someone cared for them. But as it turns out, they ended up being part of something so much bigger than themselves that the story of their kindness made national news!
And whether they knew it or not, all of those people who joined in that extreme act of kindness were just reflecting something bigger.
Think about it. When you look at the life of Jesus, He demonstrated kindness all the time. But He not only showed kindness to others, He actually flipped the whole idea of kindness on its head and redefined it for not only His disciples, but all of us.
He showed kindness to all people. People who were marginalized. People with bad reputations. Children, beggars, the sick and outcast, all people—regardless of whether they could return the kindness given to them.
In the month of February, it seems like everyone is talking about how they’re going to show their friends and family how valuable they are with cards and candy and flowers. But it could be that the simplest way we can make the most impact is by showing kindness the way Jesus did and the way He taught His followers.
We live in a world that most often seems like it’s anything but kind. Kindness is so rare that the acts of kindness like what happen in Florida make national news! And just think about the arguments that break out within our own families.
But what would happen if kindness didn’t seem so rare? What would happen if we decided to live out what Jesus said about showing others they are valuable?
That’s why we’re taking the whole month to look more closely at kindness: showing others they are valuable by how you treat them.
All month we’ll be working on memorizing Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” This simple verse is a great reminder of what Jesus said about Kindness. We would want others to show kindness towards us, so it’s important that we turn around and show kindness to them as well.
For Week 1, we kick off the month with a familiar story found in Mark 10:13-16. Back in Jesus’ time, children were seen but not heard—and most often they weren’t even supposed to be seen, but Jesus did something different. He said, “Let the children come to me… God’s kingdom belongs to people like them.” Jesus showed kindness to the children when He welcomed them with open arms.
Bottom Line: There’s always time to be kind. We hope kids can remember, that they are never so important that they can’t take time to be kind to those around them.
In Week 2, we’ll look more closely at Ruth 1 and 2. We find Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth. Their husbands have died, and Ruth has the opportunity to return home to her family. Instead, she chooses to show kindness to Naomi and stays with her. Ruth’s kindness doesn’t go unnoticed. Boaz notices and offers kindness to Ruth, changing her life in a huge way.
Bottom Line: Be kind to your family and friends. When it comes to our family and friends, often we take them for granted. We hope through the story of Ruth, kids will learn to show kindness to those we care about most.
We’ll continue in Week 3 with Matthew 25:35-40. We’ll revisit one of Jesus’ teachings on kindness. For one reason or another, people are overlooked every day—no one even notices them, much less shows kindness to them. But Jesus says that when we show kindness to one of the least of these, it’s as if we’re showing kindness to Him. We hope kids discover how they can show kindness to people who are overlooked in their world.
Bottom Line: Be kind to people who are overlooked. Some people are easier to show kindness to than others, but everyone deserves to be treated like they’re valuable, no matter who they are.
We’ll finish the month in Acts 9:26-30. We find out that Saul, the guy whose main goal in life was to wipe out Jesus’ followers, had recently met Jesus and believed in Him. It’s no surprise that when he went to meet with Jesus’ followers, they had a hard time trusting that his story was real. But Barnabas took a risk. He chose to believe Saul’s story and helped the rest of the disciples accept Saul as well. Barnabas is a great example for us and helps us discover that we should show kindness to people who aren’t kind to us.
Bottom Line: Be kind to people who aren’t kind to you. There will be people who won’t always be nice to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to show kindness to them. We hope kids see that they can be kind even if people aren’t kind in return.
Through these stories, we hope kids will understand that showing kindness is really important. Not only is kindness a fruit of the Spirit; but it’s also one of the best ways to tap into Jesus’ character. When we show kindness to others, we are reflecting the heart of Jesus to them.
As a parent or leader, one of the most powerful things you can do this month is help a child understand how they can cooperate with God to treat people with kindness; how they would want to be treated. And who knows, their own version of Undercover Kindness might just end up changing the world.
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.