This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
— Luke 6:31, NLT
Yesterday I witnessed an unacknowledged act of kindness and was reminded of the words of Christ Jesus in Luke 6:31. I would like to share it with you as encouragement.
I currently work for one of the largest universities in the country, at its largest campus, and this year (as all of the internal and external communications consistently remind us) we have our largest enrollment ever. This means that, over the last few weeks as Fall semester got underway, the campus where I work and the surrounding city has been packed with more people and cars than I have seen in the six years I have lived and worked here.
Before I had my oldest son, I used to bike into work. Now that I have children and the roads are so congested, I do not feel it is safe to bike anymore. So I drive and park at my local church, conveniently located across the street from campus and only a mile from my office. Then all I have to do is walk to the bus stop and hop one of the free buses to get me closer to the office.
Yesterday afternoon I left the office a few minutes earlier than usual and managed to catch the smaller bus almost immediately. It was crowded with only three seats available. I pulled my bags close to me and sat down next to a young man. He was an African-American college student, perhaps a freshman or sophomore, though I am not a good judge of ages. He was dressed comfortably in a loose t-shirt and black jeans, and he was leaning forward with his elbows on his knees so he could talk with a friend seated on the other side of the bus. I tried not to, but I partially listened to their conversation about an online game until the next bus stop.
Two young women climbed on board and looked around. At first glance, the bus looked full. Without hesitation, the young man next to me stood up and offered his seat. The women simply sat down in the last two remaining seats (one had previously had a bag on it). Neither one acknowledged his offer and he quietly sat back down. There was an awkward feeling lingering in the air.
As the bus lurched forward, I felt that his kindness needed to be recognized even if it had not been accepted.
“That was very nice of you,” I said with a smile, and the young man broke into a bright smile of his own.
The next stop was mine. As I stood up, I turned to the young man and said: “I hope you have a great day.”
“Thank you!” he said.
As I walked down the sidewalk, weaving in and out of college students and crossing the busy intersection, I could not help but reflect on the entire situation. This young man did not hesitate to offer up his seat when it seemed no seats were available. This type of kindness used to be commonplace, and yet now it is so extraordinary that to see such courtesy in action is remarkable. Even if the kindness had not been acted upon, it was important to acknowledge it.
So, Friend, today I want to ask you a few self-reflective questions. As you go about your daily activities, do you offer kindness to others? Do you acknowledge the kind acts of others? Do you extend grace to those around you who may not be behaving courteously? Are you as kind to strangers as you are to family and friends? Do you feel offended when your act of kindness is not acknowledged or reciprocated? Is there more you can do to live up to the words of Jesus when He said: “do to others as you would like them to do to you“?
My own answers to these questions reveal that I am an imperfect human being in need of God’s refining love. Perhaps yours do, too. We all could learn from the young man on the bus. May we also never forget to treat others as we, ourselves, would like to be treated — even if we do not receive (on this earth) recognition for doing so or even if it may not be in our favor to do so.
We should behave that way because it is the right thing to do. It is what Jesus expects of His followers. Let us pray that our character reflects His character in everything we say and do.
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Jenny Lynn
- Gina of Stories by Gina