Here's a thought to consider - how many small acts of kindness are equal to one big one?

A bit of a pointless question in one sense, yet it entered my mind as I was sitting on a train rumbling into town one Saturday morning recently.

I was reading Psalm 146 and quietly reflecting on the Psalmist's own reflection that the Lord: 'upholds the cause of the oppressed ... gives food to the hungry ... sets prisoners free ... gives sight to the blind ... lifts up those who are bowed down ... watches over the foreigner ... sustains the fatherless and the widow ...' Which of these powerful works of righteousness might I engage with in a meaningful, if limited, way?

And then the peace was shattered as a family of mum, dad and two very noisy kids boarded the busy-ish train and occupied various seats around me.

Isn't it alarming how swiftly one's inner serenity can descend into annoyance? Yet, this is exactly what happened, as the two young children clambered about me and the parents barked orders at them from across the aisle. Didn't they realise I was deep in God's Word considering acts of righteousness?!

Fortunately, God was sitting next to me and nudged me with a radical thought (I guess not entirely without self benefit!): if I moved to another seat nearby, the family could camp on all the seats in the block of four where I was currently the sole occupant, and things would improve. And, sure enough, this simple act of minor kindness transformed the landscape - the kids quietened down, the parents relaxed, and not just me amongst the nearby passengers breathed a sigh of relief at the now happy family. Score!

And when one of the children dropped and could not find a coin - precious pocket money for the day, I guess - I spotted it and handed it back to the lad. The family were oh-so-grateful, and I was on a roll!

So, back to my question. We can't  always be involved in the major acts of service listed in Psalm 146, but small acts of kindness - like these which were really appreciated by the family (and so blessed me as I lived out a small part of the day by Kingdom values) are there for the taking all around us.

And there's a flip side to this as well for, when Jesus was talking about who was fit to enter the kingdom of heaven (recorded in Matthew 25:45), He said 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

What small acts of kindness will you do today?

Simon Ward 
February 2018

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