Over the years I’ve thought a lot about that ever-popular phase “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” For whatever reason, I’m always curious where certain phrases start or come from. A mentor of mine wrote on this phrase last month and I was challenged by it’s enormous truth for those of us Christ followers. I hope you enjoy these thoughts by my friend David Roper:
“You have not fulfilled every duty, unless you have fulfilled that of being kind” (Charles Buxton).
“Why have I found favor (grace) in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” — Ruth 2:10
According to legend, American writer Anne Herbert scribbled the phrase "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty" on a placemat at a Sausalito, California restaurant in 1982. The sentiment has since been popularized through film and literature and has become a part of our cultural vocabulary.
The missing note is “Why?” Why should we show kindness to others?
For those who follow Jesus the answer is clear: Whether voiced or unvoiced the purpose of every act of kindness is to show the tender mercy and loving kindness of God. When acts of kindness are done in that spirit there’s no end to the good we can do.
There’s an Old Testament analogue of that principle in the story of Ruth, the emigrant from Moab, a foreigner, living in a strange land whose language and culture she did not understand. Furthermore, she was desperately poor, utterly dependent on the charity of a people who took little notice of her
There was one Israelite, however, who showed Ruth grace and “spoke to her heart” as the Hebrew text puts it (Ruth 2:13). He allowed her to glean in his fields, but more than that simple charity, he showed her by his compassion and tenderness the tender mercy and loving kindness of God, the one under whose wings she could take refuge.
As you know, she became Boaz’ bride and part of the family of God and one in a line of descendants that led to the One who brought salvation to the world (Cf. Matthew 1:1-16).
You never know what one act of kindness, done in Jesus’ name, will do (Mark 9:38).