Likely you are familiar with ‘Random Acts of Kindness’, that is extending acts of kindness to the strangers you encounter during the day. Recently, with the youth group I lead, I challenged the students to instead perform ‘Deliberate Acts of Jesus’ in their daily lives. Some of the acts are the same; a kind word, generous giving, love, but when we use Jesus as our model we also find ourselves challenged to be humble and forgiving. furthermore, these acts are not random, but intentional. We can set out each day with an awareness that we are ambassadors, and a reflection of Christ in a fallen world.
I shared with the students a passage from the book, Words that Hurt Words that Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well by Joseph Teluskin. The author recounts an afternoon spent with a friend who what trying to bring love back to New York (his words, not mine) by intentionally being kind to the people he encountered throughout the day. This meant paying compliments to construction workers, engaging taxi drivers in pleasant conversations, and leaving large tips for waitresses. We looked at the passage and asked ourselves if the acts are sincere, or phony? After some debate, we decided the acts are honest to Jesus, but may feel contradictory to our sinful nature. If we see each person we encounter throughout the day as a wonderful and amazing creation in His image, how can we not love them? We can pray for God to allow us to see people as He seems them, and to love as He loves. Then the Deliberate Acts of Jesus come from an honest and humble heart, that longs to please God and see His name glorified.
Words are essential when performing Deliberate Acts of Jesus. God used words to create the very universe we live in. Words can be used to praise God or curse those made in his image, words can heal or hurt, life up or break down, and Jesus tells us that words can actually move mountains! We all know how words can affect us. We likely remember a harsh word spoken to us as a child, or a kind and loving word spoken to us by a friend. Words are powerful. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul cautions believers to, ” Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear” (4:29). So, consider using these powerful word-tools to perform Deliberate Acts of Jesus. Compliment someone on a job well done, especially someone doing a job that would likely go unnoticed like washing windows or sweeping a floor. Tell a mother who is out with her children how well-behaved they are (gasp!). Call someone and let them know you are thinking of them. Thank your spouse for what they do. Tell someone they are a blessing. Some members of the youth group made a poster offering words like love, joy, and kindness to passers-by. We also made hearts and wrote positive affirmations on them, like ‘you are beautiful’, and left them in public places. Much like the man in New York, we are planing love seeds for God to grow.
Some Deliberate Acts of Jesus are not as easy. It might mean extending grace to someone who has hurt you, giving away some of your money or possessions, spending a day serving someone else when you would rather be somewhere different. The good news is, God promises us that we will reap what we sow. “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing whatever good we do we will receive the same from the Lord” Ephesians 6:7-8. If we do these things in order to please and glorify the Lord, then surely the same blessings will manifest in our own lives, maybe even on this side of heaven. In Malachi we are told, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing” (3:10). You can’t out give God and you can’t out love God. Invest in these Deliberate Acts of Jesus and blessings will rain down on you from Heaven. This is not our selfish motivation, it is a promise from God.
So, consider this and pray that God would allow you to see the world as He sees it. Pray that He would open your eyes to the endless opportunities to be Jesus to someone in need. Heal a hurt, encourage a stranger, uplift a family member, move a mountain–plant some love seeds and watch them grow.