“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Sobering thought, isn’t it?
So, what is His will? Well, honestly that is a terrific Bible study. There are lots of hints and “rules” in scripture, “thou shalt not kill,” “thou shalt not steal,” “honor your father and your mother,” “thou shalt have no other god’s before Me,” to “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God?” To be a good Samaritan. To not just bless people and tell them we will pray for them, but to give them what they need, when it is within our power to do so. These are some of the daily scripture readings I wanted to feature on the Random Acts cards. But before I get to that, I really need to talk to you about something first.
Obligation vs Love
“Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:22,23
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal, And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Works for the sake of works only are dead works. We must have love. And what is love?
Love suffers long, and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself. It is not puffed up. Love does not behave rudely. It doesn’t seek its own. It is not provoked. It thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Pursue love!
Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:40
With God there is order, and our love must be in the order He established. First we must love God, and then we shall love each other. We so often go about it all wrong. We think we have to earn God’s love with good works, but He is not a man, He is God; His ways are higher than our ways. He already loves us. He is trying to teach us to love Him back, because if we love Him, and really get to know Him, we’ll see the whole creation through His eyes. It is information that we need in order to truly love.
We can dutifully go out and do all the things we’re supposed to, but if we still practice lawlessness (not obey God’s rules in our hearts), our works will all be for naught. The Lord doesn’t take bribes. He is trying to teach us something… a better way than we can imagine. He wants us to get to know Him first and foremost, so that we can love our neighbor as ourselves.
So above all else, we must repent of every sinful thing in our lives, all the lawlessness, all the selfishness, every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. This is how we love God with all of our hearts, and souls, and minds, and strength! We must give our hearts fully and exclusively to God, and when our hearts are full of Him, His love will come pouring out on our neighbors. It won’t be a chore, or a drudgery, or an obligation. It will be a compulsion. And it will be blessed of God, because it will be His will and His doing. And we will never have to fear those dreadful words, “Away from me, I never knew you.”
I just wanted to establish this before I go sharing my “vision” of random acts. It is not out of legalism that I wish to pursue this, it is out of holiness to God and having His heart for people. It is about being blameless in His sight first, and then being not just “hearers of the word of God” for my self only, “but doers of it” also, for mankind. It’s about knowing the heart of God first, and then strapping on my shoes of readiness, and taking the minas (talents) He has given to me in our private time with each other, and scattering them along life’s roads as I go, sowing God’s kingdom in the hearts of every person I encounter. It’s about seeing opportunity in the eyes of every person I meet, to love them with the love of God. It’s about strength training, making kindness, generosity, and love such a daily part of my life and focus that I become an imitator of Christ and spiritually fruitful.
It has been on my heart for some time to create this little set of cards, as a way to get in the habit of “hearing His word, and doing it.” I had pictured in my mind a nice laminated set of cards, placed in a nice, sturdy, decorated recipe box or basket that I could keep on my kitchen table.
Each card in my box/basket would feature a daily scripture and a suggested daily random act of kindness, that would start me down the path of kindness, goodness, gentleness towards others.
Each morning, as I sip my coffee, I could draw out one of these cards, read the scripture and the random act, and then pray for God to lead me to the person He wants for me to bless that day, and also go ahead of me to prepare their heart for His blessing.
At the end of the day I could thank Him for giving me seeds to sow, and pray for that person’s heart to come to know my Savior who leads His people to do good things for others, or for them to just feel loved and blessed that God’s people make the best friends (and dispel some of the bad press that we so often get in this dark world).
And then I thought how exiting this would be to do with my grandchildren, when they are sleeping over, and it was THAT thought that led me to create this blog post.
What a neat thing for families to do!!!! It doesn’t take much time to pull a card out of a box each morning as we sit around our tables eating breakfast. Each family member can start the day sharing a word from the Bible, and then be challenged to carry out a random act that day that we can all talk about later that night around the supper table.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27
The Bible is filled with scriptures about doing for others…
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou are not a doer of the law, but a judge.” James 4:11
At the bottom of this post are the links to download my pdf files of the cards I created. You have my permission to print them – for your own personal use ONLY – on 8.5 X 11″ sheets of copy paper, or you can take them to your local print shop and have them print them for you on a nice card stock (one set ONLY, for your own personal use, please). Once they are printed you can cut them apart and have them laminated at the print shop to make them durable, and waterproof. There are 91 pages in the file (file size is 185.5 KB).
While you wait for your cards to print, and laminate, let me entice you with some inspiration…
RANDOM ACTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
RANDOM ACTS AT WORK:
Be generous with praise. Thank others often. Pitch in and help when a coworker is overwhelmed (sometimes because of the death of a loved one, or recovery from an illness or accident, etc., or just learning the job). Leave a small gift (book, music CD, pretty pen, Starbucks gift card, etc.) in their mailbox, just because. Surprise someone with flowers, or balloons, whom you notice never receives such things.
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
RANDOM ACTS AT CHURCH:
Offer to clean an elderly member’s home. Take an elderly member to a doctor appointment. Take a casserole dinner to a new mom and help her fold clothes. Offer babysitting to a young couple for a date night. Rake leaves or shovel snow for a shut-in, or someone recovering from surgery. Buy groceries for the pastor/wife. Pick up a friend and take them to church with you. Take a new member to breakfast or lunch.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 ESV
RANDOM ACTS IN THE COMMUNITY:
Here is an awesome and really fun sounding idea to do with our small groups (church cell groups) that a friend posted on Facebook:
“Oh my goodness! What fun and what a blessing. My church has a number of small groups that meet once a week for more intimate fellowship, Bible study and service to our community. We are doing a weekly service in our town called “Acts of Random Kindness.” We arrive with a list of acts of kindness we will do, in an hour, as we break up in smaller teams and compete with each other to accomplish the acts and make it back to our host house ahead of other teams. We ran off and paid for people’s groceries, went to gas stations and paid for gas for people and cleaned their windshields, gave flowers to unsuspecting random recipients, gave tips to waitresses without receiving their service, filled washers and dryers with quarters for people at public laundry mats, sang to fast food counter servers and retail sales persons, dropped gift baskets at random houses, read an encouraging poem to a person we came across, and many other acts that let people know they are special and that we care. The way people responded to us was so touching. I didn’t want the giving to stop. I told our leader that it reminded me of when I was a teen and we would do Chinese fire drills. Our adrenaline ran wild. As teams, we ran to each service, all participated, and then we ran back to the car laughing and feeling great about the lives we touched. I could do this every day! I received more than I gave. I think that was the lesson to each of us participating. It is such a joy to give. And…to give randomly, to whoever we see in front of us at the time. I encourage everyone to open your eyes to people you can show kindness to whether you think they deserve it or not.”
“He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13
RANDOM ACTS AT HOME:
Leave a little note of encouragement in children’s lunchboxes or backpacks. Leave a sweet note on the mirror for spouse. Send a love text or prayer of encouragement to spouse during the day. Warm up and scrape the ice off of spouse’s vehicle – or turn on the A/C so the car is cool before they go to work. Surprise spouse with a little gift in their car, or on their side of the bed, or sitting next to their favorite chair in the living room (a new book, a new pair of pajamas, new socks, new gloves, movie tickets, new tool, lotion, candybar, flowers, etc.), just because.
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
RANDOM ACTS FOR FRIENDS:
Send a card. Invite to lunch. Leave a small gift (potted plant, bottle of wine, bag of groceries, magazine/newspaper/book, a pretty wreath for their door, etc.) on the doorstep. Invite them to a pedicure. Make a mammogram appointment together and go pick her up. Invite to go shopping (clothes, antiques, farmer’s market, etc.). Invite to a play or movie.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17-18
RANDOM ACTS FOR NEIGHBORS:
Shovel their sidewalks while they are at work. Pull their weeds. Leave a potted plant on their doorstep. Invite them for supper. Visit with them over the fence. Help them wash their car, work on their car, repair a fence, etc. if you see them out doing that. Mow their yard while they are at work. Make a pretty wreath for their door.
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27
(This is one page of the front side design. 91 copies of this one page will be needed for one set of cards, or 92 copies if printing the extra page of blank cards).
(This is one page of blank cards, for writing down your own suggestions, or replacing cards in my set that don’t seem relevant to you).
(This is the whole set of cards. It is 91 pages in length, 4 cards per page)
Bless you my friend. May we be as iron sharpens iron for one another, using our gifts for the edification of the church, the whole body of Christ, as the Lord intended. I pray these cards will be a blessing, and useful to you in this life. I can’t wait to meet you on the other side of this life – in God’s glorious kingdom. And let us not grow weary in doing good, for we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up!
“Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed You? And when did we see You ailing or in prison, and came to You?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”