The story of the boy who gave his lunch to the disciples to share with the multitude is well known.1 Jesus took the five small loaves and two fishes, blessed the food which was multiplied miraculously, and thousands of hungry people were satisfied. Who was the little boy? What was his name? What was the name of his thoughtful mother who provided the packed lunch? These details are not provided.
Unsung heroes quietly performing simple acts of kindness provide the backdrop to so many miracles of deliverance, healing, and supply. Consider the men who carried their paralyzed friend on his bed; they were so eager to bring him to Jesus for healing, they opened up part of the roof to get him into the crowded house.2
The bearers who were carrying the body of the widow’s son stood still at Jesus’ command and witnessed the miracle of the young man’s return to life.3 And we cannot forget the friends of the centurion who bore the message to Jesus, pleading in his stead for healing for the centurion’s devoted servant. Upon their return, they found the servant healed.4
These nameless individuals showed kindness, often more than duty demanded. There is no record of them receiving thanks or reward. Their kindness was from the heart.
You’ve probably guessed the topic for this issue’s exercise: Make it a point over the coming week to do a kindness for someone—a colleague, friend, family member, or stranger—without telling anyone what you’ve done or expecting anything in return. Better still, try to do this every week. You may not witness an outstanding miracle, but you will have brought a smile to somebody else.
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.—Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997)
A single moment surely
Will be my fixed desire:
To pour the ruddy fire
Of wine of kindness down throats parched;
To overturn, spill joy upon the scorched,
Hate-caked mud of earth.
Their joy will be my birth!
My only peace, their peace,
Their pleasure brings me ease,
Their dream will be my dream.
And my heartbeat the throb
Of hearts that beat with God.
Sound that ringing through infinity
Each day calls echoes of divinity:
“Today I’m born anew!”
— Amado Nervo (1870–1919), translated from the original Spanish
1. See John 6:1–13.
2. See Luke 5:18–25.
3. See Luke 7:11–15.
4. See Luke 7:1–10.