I have been making lists about ways to sow seeds of faith, love, kindness, mercy, etc., in the lives of others. There are so many opportunities, but I think it is important that we make careful choices about regular commitments, so that there is energy for the spur of the moment kindnesses to occur.
Jeff Goins has been writing on the subject of slowing down, smell the roses, enjoy the present, savor the wait.
When my kids were young this seemed impossible. But even as they are transitioning to their own lives, I have to be careful not to sign up for too much, even the fun things. We all need some margin in our lives.
I recommend his new book, The In-Between.
Enjoy what happens between the events we put in our scrapbooks.
Here are 20 more ways to sow…
- Invite a mother of toddlers over for coffee
- Listen to someone practice their presentation or speech
- Befriend someone who has a disability.
- Encourage another blogger by commenting on their blog.
- Mentor a child, a new coworker, a new member of your quilting group
- Grow flowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.; share them with coworkers.
- Pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)
- Give a dollar to a homeless person, even if they might squander it on alcohol.
- Forgive your brother, sister, parents, friends.
- Give others the benefit of the doubt.
- If you have a disability, befriend those who do not appear to have disabilities.
- Help put on a church service at a nursing home.
- Adopt a child who needs you.
- Visit the sick or lonely. Bring your knitting with you so they won’t feel that you are in hurry to leave.
- Tell others what God has done for you.
- Invite your kids’ friends over for a movie night. Make popcorn for them, and go read a book in another room.
- Contribute to a backpack drive, a shoe drive, a winter coat drive.
- Knit/crochet little hats for newborns.
- Knit mittens for students. Give them to the school secretary to pass to kids who need them.
- Buy a new toy for Toys for Tots.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
About that sowing part…
Over the next few weeks, I am going to post ideas for sowing mercy, faith, love, grace, kindness.
- Open your eyes to appreciate the good qualities of other people. Compliment them. Be sure to tell others, as well.
- Teach someone to play cribbage, then find opportunities to keep playing cribbage.
- Bring your friend, brother, sister, stranger to the Lord in prayer in during your private worship.
- Pray with your friend, brother, sister, stranger at their time of need in their presence.
- Share what you know, whether that is gardening, cooking, sewing, painting, writing, etc., with others.
- Give a gift to encourage someone.
- Make a meal and take it to someone’s house
- Listen to children recite verses from the Bible
- Buy lemonade from a lemonade stand
- Buy dinner at a spaghetti fund raiser, instead of going out to eat.
- Invite another family over for ice cream
- Take part in food drives. Make sure what you give away is not expired. Give what you like to eat, not just what you bought by mistake (although that can be good, too).
- Give money to the homeless shelters in your city
- Tell a kind joke to the sales clerk or fast food worker
- Invite someone to your………. established quilting group, writing group, scrapbooking group, euchre tournament. The world is a lonely place.
- Establish a quilting guild, birdwatching club, writers group, bowling club, book discussion, Bible study, potluck club, etc. Invite others of like interests.
- Recommend someone for a job
- Recommend someone for a promotion
- Speak highly of your mother-in-law
- Defend the helpless
There is a lot in the Bible about actually doing something.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
Our friend, Dan Johnson, lost his mother to cancer this last week. She loved many and was loved by many. Dan gave me permission to share one of his Facebook posts about her.
“Was looking through one of mom’s journals today and came across this phrase:
Never suppress an urge to be generous.
Don’t know if she wrote it or heard it somewhere, but that is how she lived. Mom regularly gave away more than she spent on herself in a given month.”
His post brought to mind the seeds of generosity that have been sown in my life. Here are 20 of of the countless.
- My neighbor picked up the phone when I called and talked to me. Even though she was busy.
- When I was 22, the driver of a rusty tow truck rescued me and my car, which had stalled out yet again in the middle of a busy downtown Indianapolis freeway. He took me to one of the best mechanics at the Indianapolis Speedway. He refused payment. The mechanic fixed my car without charge.
- My mother came to take care of me and my family after three births and two major surgeries.
- After our youngest daughter’s traumatic birth, a family from our church cleaned our house, left supper in a crock pot, and bought new toys for our toddler and preschooler (and assembled them).
- In 1995, a woman at the church I then attended, invited me to attend a monthly quilters group. I have been meeting with them for 18 years now.
- My husband took care of the children so that I could attend quilt meetings, quilters retreats, scrapbooking club, woman’s Bible Study, etc.
- Sometimes my art minded daughter shops with me for clothes. Her stated goal is to steer me away from the dark side toward cheerier colors. We are going shopping today.
- My friend recommended me to her boss, and I was hired.
- When I was a child, my sister defended me against bullies.
- Someone put their hand on my shoulder, and asked how I was doing, and wanted to know.
- One of my coworkers kindly told me yet again where to find the document template that I needed.
- My therapist encouraged me not to give up on God.
- My aunt helped me laugh before my first major surgery when the doctor told me it didn’t look good. I was 25 at the time and had just graduated from college. She made me laugh again after surgery, which when you have staples in your stomach, hurts a lot. It was still worth it to laugh. 🙂
- When I attended Michigan State University, I worked in the dish room in the basement of the ancient dormitory where I lived. The dishes came down to me on a dish conveyer from the cafeteria one tray at a time. On my birthday, a clean tray was sent down with a single cup cake with a lit candle on top and a Happy Birthday note. What generosity of creativity and thoughtfulness. Almost 30 years later, this still touches my heart.
- Another aunt and uncle opened their home to me for six months after my first surgery.
- In the face of impending job loss due to plant shut down in 1995, my husband caught influenza and then pneumonia during the holidays. The kids were running fevers during Christmas week as well. Meals were brought in. Someone from our church paid our electric bill.
- My parents took me back and forth to college for five years. My mother often bought 50 pounds of potatoes at the farmers market and would say, “We can’t eat 50 pounds of potatoes, why don’t you take 10. These peaches will go bad before we can eat them, maybe you and your roommates would help me out by eating some.”
- Kind words were said behind my back about me and my family.
- One of my neighbors watched my daughters when I took my son to the doctor.
- Many drivers have allowed me into the long line of cars waiting to leave a concert, fireworks, church, the grocery store, etc.
As I write these down, even more come flooding into my mind.
What are the seeds of kindness, love, mercy, faith that have been sown by others in your life?