Not So Random

May 26, 2023

Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he gave the innkeeper some silver and told him to take care of the man. He said, “If his bill runs higher than that, I'll pay the difference the next time I’m here.” Luke 10:34-35 NLT

Americans are famous for all the holidays/special days we create. One of them is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Actually, we officially are to observe an entire week each February by doing random acts of kindness to unspecified people. There’s nothing wrong with that. Truly, it would be wonderful if even for one day most everyone would walk through the world looking for spontaneous ways to be nice to others. Research shows that if you are randomly kind to someone else, the primary beneficiary is YOU. You feel better and more positive almost immediately. Though some people don’t receive random acts enthusiastically because they are skeptical of why someone would suddenly for no reason say or do something kind without expectation of repayment, most recipients benefit as well.

But Merriam-Webster says that random means “made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.” That type of action is rarely effective or sustainable, certainly not the kind of kindness God exhibits that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Reflecting on the transformative acts of kindness, Adam Grant says, “They aren't arbitrary or unintentional. They stem from deeply held values or strongly felt emotions. Helping is an expression of care. It's a decision that someone's well-being matters to you—and an effort to matter to them.” This type of kindness flows from a consistent heart of kindness and is done at one’s own sacrifice and inconvenience. The Good Samaritan is remembered even millennia later because he typifies this. He carefully considered what the wounded man needed and determined to pay the full price of kindness in time, effort, and resources.

Some people prefer random acts of kindness because they say it is more selfless and altruistic to do things others don’t know you do. Inarguably, a kind person does not call attention to himself, but in most situations kindness from someone who will stay a consistent help in life is most encouraging and helpful. As always, the example of Jesus is most instructive. Kindness was His character, so everyone who came in contact with Him became the recipient of His “random” kindness. But He was specifically, intentionally kind to the people who were participants in His life; people He saw regularly and people He was targeting for the future. They received His specific, sacrificial, intentional kindness according to their needs. It’s the way He lived.

  • Random acts? Sure. But who today will benefit from your purposeful, intentional, sacrificial, not-so-random kindness? Do it.