As Acts 1.8 says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth.” Witnessing can be quite an endeavor, but one of the most useful tools we have for this is kindness.
Kindness is special: it’s an action that is fulfilling for the giver and for the recipient.
It brings new perspectives to everyday situations, and it’s made me think about myself and the others around me so much differently. I started volunteering for my church around seven years ago, as a singer on my youth group worship team. Ever since then, I’ve been involved in more community and church events than I can count! I couldn’t get enough of working for something (and for Someone) bigger than myself. Serving others is such a passion of mine, and I’m thinking it always will be. It’s life-changing when you see what it’s like to put others above yourself. The world could use some more kindness and we, Christ followers, can spread.
Being a witness isn’t always just telling someone about Christ. Many times we can witness just by doing the simple things for other people; even a “smile,” or a “hello” can go a long way. These acts of kindness, even though they seem small, are reflections of God’s love, and they can make differences in people’s lives.
A vignette about Safe Harbor
I have so many amazing stories and memories from the times that I’ve served in my city at a Christian homeless shelter called Safe Harbor. There every night, people who have no place to stay are provided food, showers, access to computers, laundry facilities, and beds.
One of my favorite memories is when I was serving ice cream and pie for dessert. I was doing my best to smile at everyone I was serving, engage in conversation, and talk enthusiastically.
I made sure that everyone I came in contact with knew that I cared about them.
Eventually, I started talking to this really quiet lady who had been sitting by herself. We had a conversation for a good five minutes (she was very friendly), and then I kept serving ice cream. I didn’t really think much of that conversation afterwards, because I had talked to so many people throughout the night. Only later did I find out that the lady I talked to rarely spoke to anyone at the shelter!The person who noticed this encounter, Ms. Teresa, was actually the head coordinator of Safe Harbor. She started crying and told my mom what happened.
I love this story because it shows how God can use anyone, at any time, like me, even though I didn’t know it. There was no way I had any idea what was happening as I was talking with this lady. I didn’t even learn her name, and yet just by spreading a bit of kindness God was able to make something incredible out of that normal situation.
Mateo is our firstborn. He has always had a sensitive heart in his relationship with God and in his connections with people. Mateo is brilliant enough to do whatever he wants, but will more than likely never be satisfied with study and work that does not include face-to-face time with people. He is a constant reminder of the heart of God, who sent His Son to pour out His love throughout the streets of the villages of Israel for three years. You’ll find Jesus stopping and ministering along the way somewhere, in the middle of the crowds at the feasts in Jerusalem, along the shores, making house-calls for the sick, etc. Perhaps Jesus does more ministry in the field than He does from behind the lecterns of the synagogues. In the same way, Mateo intuitively understands and operates in an embodied Theology.
For a list of some of Mateo’s other contributions to my Patheos column CLICK HERE