As I opened my email this morning from Cards by Anne, an international greeting card company specializing in inspirational messages, this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. caught my attention: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others.” Of course, Dr. King’s legacy is one of advocacy for others, having dedicated his life to the nonviolent struggle for racial equality in the United States.
The question, “What are you doing for others?” stops me in my tracks and resists being ignored. It’s like a neon sign flashing in the darkness looking for daylight and for a response. It’s a question that cuts through to the heart of what matters, to what is important, to where our passion drives us. The question prompts another question, “What am I living for?”
These questions demand some difficult, honest examination of one’s values, beliefs, and priorities. Where do I spend my time and energy? These are challenging questions to answer. As an introvert with a contemplative personality, my focus tends to be more on the internal stuff of life, rather than the external happenings around me. I try to live each day mindful of being kind to those I encounter throughout the day with a hello, a smile, a listening ear. I try to live by the golden rule of treating others as I would like to be treated.
You and I may not be grand-scale activists and leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., but we can make a positive impact on the lives of others–coworkers, family members, kids, friends, etc. If we touch one life through an act of kindness, we have done something positive for someone. By doing something kind for one person, that person may do something kind for yet another person. One act of kindness can set in motion the possibility for multiple acts of kindness. We can start a ripple effect of many positive things happening to many people and begin a Kindness Revolution.
Need some ideas for what to do for others? Here’s a short list to get you started:
- Call or text a friend whom you haven’t spoken to in awhile
- Bake a special treat for someone you know
- Let another person go ahead of you in the grocery line
- Talk to a teenager about what’s happening in their life
- Donate blood to help someone in need
- Give a coworker a compliment
- Forgive someone who has hurt you
- Be kind to someone who is unkind
- Send a thank-you note to someone who has shown you kindness
- Play a card game with a child or elderly person
The possibilities for kindness are endless. Doing for others can be simple and easy. Doing for others may seem like a small thing but it can have a big impact on someone else’s life. Doing for others is an important tenet of the Christian faith. In Matthew 25: 40, we hear Jesus say to his disciples ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
If you want to touch the lives of others and be part of a community that seeks to do good for others, why not contact us and learn more about how you can live a consecrated life.