I have often thought that “Random Acts of Kindness” are a really wonderful thing. You know, doing something kind to someone you may not know that is unexpected and unanticipated. These acts give the sense that maybe the world is not such a bad place as we see it in the news every day and that there are some kind individuals out there seeking the welfare of others. RAKs have their place.
On the other hand, as I look in the Scriptures, there are numerous examples of “acts of kindness” but they are clearly not “random.” When Jesus would heal or serve others or associate with the tax collectors and “sinners,” he continued to declare that these things were a part of God’s Kingdom. Jesus had a purpose. He was shining the light of a new Kingdom that gave and served others with no strings attached, with no expectancy that His “good service” would come back to Him. At times, healing another person would cause the religious elite to literally want to kill Jesus. This is hardly a “quid pro quo.”
Many have a type of “theology” that I hear the world and sometimes those in the church say: “If I just do good to someone, it will somehow come back to me.” My motivation is that something good will come back in return because, after all, I have been such a good person. I actually deserve goodness to come to back to me. There are many who do good things (and I mean really good things!) and at the same time will say something like, “It makes me feel so good to serve like that.” This is the idea that it is really therapeutic to serve someone else or do a project because when I take pity on another person, it makes my conscience feel good.
The fact is, we serve a King in a new Kingdom that is self-sacrificing. Our good works serve to glorify our Father who is heaven (Mt. 5:16). There becomes a divine connection between the serving and the One for whom we serve. We don’t control the outcome, we just give and serve. Sometimes we may be taken advantage of or we may be misunderstood. Serving and giving without expectation and without regard to self is something that can be really a radical idea in our world of self-centered motivation.
Jesus sent out His disciples to both proclaim the message of the gospel and this new Kingdom and serve in tangible ways simultaneously. Jesus told them, “Freely you have received, freely give.” The new Kingdom order is to give because we have already received everything. It is not a give-to-get scheme. Rather, we give freely because we already have received more than we could ever give. What we have been given is complete forgiveness, a life eternal with Jesus, the Spirit Himself to live within us, and a life that bears fruit. Jesus demonstrated this on the cross by taking our sin and giving us unconditional love and life (Rom. 5:8). When we serve and connect it with the love and sacrifice of Christ, our service and testimony of faith reflects back to the One who alone deserves our praise and adoration. May Christ alone be honored, praised, and glorified!
Pastor Mark Anderson, Pastor of Evangelism and Outreach, Chisholm Baptist Church