A friend told me about something that happened with him in a restaurant. Alec and his friends were being seated, and as they walked by an elderly man, this man reached out to touch him. The elderly man seemed unable to talk, but clearly wanted to make contact. Alec spoke to him, but even more, he took the man’s extended hand and held it for a
moment. He had no idea who the man was, but he honored his need for touch. He
gave kindness without hesitation and with no expectation of receiving anything.
My friend didn’t think much about it as similar things with people happen to him often, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. My years of people-contact training told me exactly what had happened and it didn’t happen by chance. The man did not reach out to any of the others in the group, only to Alec. He “knew” Alec would respond to him. Just as
animals have instinct about people, children and the elderly also have a keen sense
of those who will treat them kindly, a sense of who they can trust.
I believe it is the simple acts of kindness to strangers that define us. To react to someone we know and like with compassion is one thing, to respond warmly to a stranger, quite
Jesus said this: “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me. . . . . Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Matthew 25:35-36, 40 (NKJV)
Anytime we respond to a stranger’s need with an act of kindness, we honor God and make a statement about ourselves.
Jesus, help me to notice that person today who needs a smile, a word, or a touch. May I not draw back, but reach out in Your love. May I leave this world a better
place, with the little things you lead me to do. Amen.