A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves—Amelia Earhart
Christianity is brimming with people who want to do great and noble things for God. If you ask them, they’ll tell you how much they are capable of accomplishing. Their aspirations are usually altruistic, noble, and grand. The problem is, more often than not, God doesn’t usually want what they do.
What He wants is for people to do simple, mundane things for others—nothing ostentatious or glamorous. The goal of Christians, who are grandiose, might be to “speak about God’s love to the multitudes,” but that same person might not be willing to run an errand for an indigent person.
That’s the problem. God has far too many men and women who are willing to be exalted, but few who are willing to be menial servants. Many are willing to do grand things, but few are willing to be simple, living their lives unaffectedly just doing the “next right thing” day by day.
In twenty-first century Christian culture, we have a worldly attitude toward service, routinely calculating:
- What’s in it for me?
- How will this further my ambitions?
- How will this enhance my image with others?
After having been abused, however, where the spiritual wind has been knocked out of our sails, our perspective undergoes a radical change. We begin to learn the simple truth that an act of kindness performed at the right time, for the right reason, may be more meaningful from God’s perspective than something calculated to bring us notoriety, fame, or fortune. We begin to recognize that God values small things—where nothing is expected in return—more than grand things well publicized. A small thing is a small thing, but faithfulness in doing a small thing is a big thing.
If your desire is to be simple, doing the next right thing, join me in this prayer:
When I came to You in my distress,
I wanted You to “make everything better,”
To nurse my bruises like my mother once did
When I was a little boy and hurt myself—
To tell me that I would be okay and
My pain would vanish and soon be forgotten.
But that’s not what You did nor what You intended.
Instead, You made it crystal clear that
I could not nurse my wounds in solitude,
Nor take pleasure in the bitter fruit of self-pity.
Instead, You insisted that I “suck it up” and be an adult,
Stretching me far beyond my comfort zone,
Insisting that I be more open, honest, and vulnerable
Than I have ever been in my entire life.
You guided me, leading me to do
The next right thing, regardless of what
The consequences might be, regardless of the outcome.
Despite my fears and my desire to hide my circumstances,
Which I mask with a disingenuous smile,
I obeyed, doing the next right thing, one day at a time.
Knowing that following Your will was my only option,
Even when being obedient looked like
A weak and foolish thing to do,
I sucked it up and did what I knew to be right,
Time after time, until doing so became natural and easy.
Father, You know Your plans for me, and I do not.
I cannot see the future nor understand it—not even a little,
But I know that by following my conscience,
Even when it would have been easier to walk away,
Something of value has been created within me,
Which has never been part of my character.
Now, I feel whole and enjoy the simplicity of doing
Nothing more than the next right thing, amen.
Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.
He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)
To see more on recovery, check out The 11 Steps to Recover from Religious Abuse.
Jack Watts won the award for the “Most Inspirational Memoir” in 2011 for Hi, My Name Is Jack, published by Simon & Schuster. They also published Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.His daily blog, Pushing Jesus, is read in more than 140 countries. Jack lives in Atlanta, where he broadcasts two weekly Blog Talk Radio shows—Jack Watts Live and Jack Watts on Recovery. Single, he has five children and nine grandchildren.
To see more from Jack Watts please visit https://mcgee-andme.squarespace.com/.