A while back, there was a news story about how some 400 people who visited a Starbucks’ drive-thru were shown acts of kindness thanks to one stranger who paid for another’s caramel macchiato at 7 a.m. According to the news report, this one random act of kindness kick-started a pay-it-forward chain that lasted until 6 p.m. that day – with each driver paying for the order of the person in the car behind them.
We’ve all heard of similar stories – people ‘paying it forward’ after someone displays an act of kindness toward them. And, whether it’s done out of guilt or a sense of obligation, the recipient typically regards it as an act of kindness.
Jesus’ entire ministry was an act of love and kindness, and the greatest act of kindness was the sacrifice He made on the cross to save mankind. He came to earth, became human, and subjected Himself to painful humiliation, suffering and death for us. This was the ultimate act of love and sacrifice! In return, He simply asks that we ‘pay it forward’ by loving God and others. In Mark 12: 29-31, Jesus said, “… love the Lord God with all your passion, prayer, intelligence and energy.’ And ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’
Why, then, do we find it so difficult to love others? Why is it that when we engage in an act of kindness we expect something in return – recognition, a ‘thank you,’ money, mention, or some show of appreciation? Why do we become irritated when we allow a car to go ahead of us and they don’t give us the ‘obligatory wave of appreciation?’ When we hold a door open for someone and the person doesn’t acknowledge it with a ‘thank you,’ why are we offended? We expect our simple, insignificant acts of kindness to be rewarded with gratitude, appreciation and sometimes fanfare, yet we take Christ’s sacrifice – His act of kindness of saving mankind – for granted.
As we emerge from this season of Lent, in preparation of the celebration and commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, this is a great time to reflect upon Christ’s Act of kindness – Saving Mankind! It’s also a great time for us to take stock of ourselves, our lives and our walk with Christ, so that we can honor and reverence Him, while showing appreciation for His sacrifice.
”Peace and power.
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,