Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Deeds

I ran out of gas. It was so frustrating! I had just dropped off my eldest at preschool, but I still had my 2 year old with me. So here I was, 10 blocks from home, and I had ran out of gas. Since I happened to be talking to my husband at the time, and he is a "car guy", he headed to my rescue. As I sat in the vehicle, I was watching vehicles race up behind us, not even paying attention to my hazard lights. I know I was on the side of the road, blocking one lane, but drivers are suppose to be aware, right? Wrong! They were making me so nervous! I decided to get my son out of the car and he and I would wait outside of the vehicle on the sidewalk. This way if they hit the vehicle, we weren't in it. To my surprise, people stopped to try to help. One couple stopped and pulled in behind the van. The man asked me if I needed a ride and offered to push the van out of the way so it wouldn't get hit. I told him he really didn't need to go through the trouble since my husband was on the way and thanked them for stopping. Soon, another couple drove by, then doubled back, and then asked if someone was on the way. My husband arrived a minute after and filled the tank with a little gas and I was on my way to the gas station. Not before I thanked my husband for coming to the rescue when I was so negligent as to not watch the gas gauge. Unbelievable.
As the night progressed I started to wonder, why was I so surprised that people would stop to help? Is it because I wouldn't stop? Do I do good deeds? I began to evaluate myself. I can call someone when they are ill. Maybe even take some food over to them if they are sick or have just had a baby. But these instances are usually people in my congregation and it is normal for us as a body to help each other out. But do I do good deeds for complete strangers? Would I help out someone I don't know? Would I fix things that are not my doing?
The next day I was driving along, and some bagged trash had blown into the street. It was a typical windy Kansas day and a pretty busy street. Then I noticed a woman had pulled off on a side-street, waiting for traffic to break, she ran out into the street and grabbed the trash bag (which was pretty large) and moved it back to the side of the road. Then she got into her car and drove away. Now, that was a good deed. It wasn't her trash that blew into the street, but she took it upon herself to move it so others wouldn't have to dodge it and she may have even prevented an accident. That's nice.
I think that good deeds are different than just being polite. Getting up for an older person to sit down, holding a door open for a woman or your elder, letting a woman and her children go before you in the check-out line are all great things, but that is just being polite. It is still something that needs to happen more and we need to continue to teach it to our children. But a good deed, is something that takes a little more time and effort and you don't get anything in return. Imagine that. A selfless act. It is biblical to do a good deed.
"One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed." Proverbs 19:17
I realized that I am so caught up in my own little world that I often don't pay attention to the opportunities right there in front of my face.
Several years ago, my husband and I visited a church in Alabama. They had this program they were promoting to their congregants called CSI:Huntsville. It was so inventive that it stayed with me. They had business cards with CSI:Huntsville printed on them and on the back they said, "You have just been served by a member of ________ church." I don't remember what the CSI stood for, maybe "Charitable Services Initiative" or something to that effect. The idea was for the congregants to use these cards and leave them behind when they would do a good deed. Some of the examples were: paying for the next person behind you at the drive-through, or leaving money with a cashier at the grocery store for a needy family that was shopping and about to check out, or offering food to a homeless person. It's a really good idea isn't it? They were doing something to encourage people to do good deeds to complete strangers. They kept it anonymous, but still let them know that it was a person from a Christian church.
I know the world we live in isn't the same as it use to be and certain people have to be careful to not put themselves into dangerous situations. Single women, children or youth and women with children who are alone should not approach people alone. Basic safety and awareness for you and your family should always be first. But there are effective ways to do good deeds without putting yourself in danger. Plan to work good deeds with groups of people, or just be in a public place where there isn't a chance of you being taken advantage of or harmed. I am going to try to keep my eyes open for safe opportunities to be a witness. Because when we do a good deed for a stranger, it is a witness to that person about the love of Yeshua and how they are just as important to Him.
Leading up to and during the days of awe, Jewish people are being nice to everyone they know, even people they don't know, to ensure that they are written in the Book of Life. As people of the Lord, who believe in His son Yeshua, we are already written in the Book of Life and don't need to fret about not making it to the kingdom. But this doesn't usurp our responsibility as believers to spread the love of Messiah. The Word says it best:

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

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