B U Right Back
Little Children Come
Eat Your Greens
Van Diemen's Land
Bring Me To Life
2005 03 25
Jo Wiley on her radio show this week is promoting the idea of 'Give a flower to a stranger'. The basic idea is that you commit to giving a flower or flowers to someone you don't know, whom you meet in the street even, within the next 24 hours.
She has done it herself and encouraged other regulars on her program to do the same. In addition are all the listeners who've done it too.
All report 'a warm glow' and 'silly smiles' afterwards - the unsought reward for doing something nice, selflessly.
One listener saw a man outside and ran out with a flower. She came home the next day to find a whole bunch of lillys on her door step with a note saying thanks and explaining what a bad day he'd had the day before, backing a trailer into a friend's car and that her giving him a flower brightened everything up.
This has reminded me of a couple of similar movements in the last few years.
One was simply to smile at random strangers, the premise being that smiles are contagious and cause a ripple to go through communities. Of course smiling is good for you and makes you feel happier. You smiling does you good and if someone smiles back then you've done them some good too. They then might smile randomly at someone else and so on...
The other concept came from the USA and was termed 'Unmerited Acts of Kindness'.
Like the smiling, the idea was to be spontaneously nice to strangers, for no motive of self interest, merely because you choose to give kindness and maybe more material things away. This goes a little beyond say holding a door open for someone though that's somewhere to start.
This idea became encapsulated in urban myth / internet circulars about people giving away their Mercedes and being given a house etc as it got blended with the idea of 'what goes around, comes around' and the American dream of making it big. Self interest began to be integrated as the motivation behind the acts of kindness.
Friendship evangelism borrowed somewhat from this idea but had the ulterior motive of proselytising rotting behind the whitewash of generosity.
The film 'Pay it Forward' considered how the world might be changed if we started a chain reaction of giving rather than taking and what the initial investment in such a project might cost.
The original theory however was more innocent and simply pointed to the 'silly smiles' and 'warm glow' experienced when you do something good for someone else just 'because'.
This is grace, showing unmerited favour.
So much of our lives and our decisions are dictated to us by operating within expected norms or manipulating / distorting them for reasons of self interest.
The choice to respond in love to someone who doesn't deserve it is a moment when we can share in God's nature and character and truly be in His image.
Jesus said in Luke 6:33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same."
The challenge is to do good not that it'd be returned or is a return but simply because it's unmerited, undeserved and yet we choose to.
Perhaps today and tomorrow you'll give attention to looking for someone you can be kind to for no reason. Maybe you'll give them a flower, a cup of tea, a smile or a DVD player? Maybe they'll look poor or sad before hand but maybe not.
I know you'll be blessed and they'll be blessed.
May the Holy Spirit guide you as you go about seeking to be like Him.
© cag 2005