Small Acts of Service

MeLissa LeFleur

I recently went to the mall to pick up a few items. When I hit the corridor, I saw a mom with her young son walking in front of me. I'm not sure why they caught my eye. They were holding hands and simply walking through the mall like everyone else. They seemed really happy, so maybe that's why I noticed them.

A man who was selling lotions at one of the kiosks walked away from his booth and began talking to the mom, trying to get her to come back to his booth to sample his products. He turned around and started walking back to his booth, urging her to follow. The look on her face was one I could relate to... I don't want to follow this guy to his booth, end up smelling like stinky lotion, listen to his hard sell, and then feel bad when I walk away without buying his overpriced product. She was trying to make a decision whether to follow the guy.

Without even thinking, I walked straight up to her and said, "Hi, it's been so long since I've seen you!" I put my arm around her shoulder and started walking the other way. I muttered under my breath to "walk with me." She laughed and we walked away like old friends! I didn't say much to her.... just "glad I could help." Then I went on my way. I figured I had scared the poor woman to death! The son said, "Mommy, who was that lady?"

A few minutes later, she found me and thanked me for rescuing her from the scary vendor man. We had a nice conversation and I was able to encourage her that day.

I have no idea why we had this strange encounter, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. Even though I enjoy talking to people and being friendly, I generally don't rescue complete strangers from vendors at the mall. It still seems very odd. On any other day, I would have walked right by.

Sometimes I think too much and the result is that I don't help people for fear of what they will think of me. It was a good reminder to me that I can be aware of those around me and be intentionally kind to them. Maybe that's just what they need that day.

I'm reminded of the women in the Bible who did small and simple acts of kindness and God multiplied them over and over. There wasn't a lot of thought involved. They didn't have a strategy or a mission statement. They didn't even have a committee meeting to come up with a budget. They simply gave from what they had.

• A mother made a lunch (John 6:8-9). Little did that mom know that when she prepared a lunch for one—five loaves and two fish—it would feed five thousand people (Mark 6:41-44). Jesus took her little act of love for her child and used it in miraculous ways!

• Jochebed made a basket to protect her child from death (Exodus 2:3). God used that little act to put into motion His plan for Moses. "There has never been another prophet like Moses, for the Lord talked to him face to face. And at God's command he performed amazing miracles which have never been equaled." ( Deuteronomy 34:10-12, TLB).

• The widow in 1 Kings 17 said, "As surely as the Lord your God lives… I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die." Elijah replied, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.'" That widow went away and was obedient. This led to ample food for Elijah and the women's family.

What is God calling you to do today that is seemly mundane? Is there a homeless man who needs a peanut butter sandwich? Does your child need you to teach him how to tie his shoe for the 74th time? Does an elderly man at the store need help to reach the spaghetti sauce on the top shelf? I want to keep my ear tuned into the Holy Spirit's prodding. Do you?

Maybe God will use your child's sandwich to feed 5000!

Image Credit: Kersley Fitzgerald

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Published 6-21-13