Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:39, Luke 10:25-37, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
At the beginning of 2009, Pastor Dave Ferguson went to a Kinko’s store on business. As he walked in with his Starbucks drink in hand, one of the employees joked, “Hey where is mine?” Pastor Dave responded with, “What do you want…I’m buying!” As he looked around he saw two other employees and offered them drinks, too.
When he returned with their favorite drinks, his random act of kindness was met with so much appreciation, Ferguson said, “You would have thought they won the lottery!” Afterwards he decided to post his story on Twitter and remind his readers how a small act of kindness can make a big difference.1
But the story doesn’t end there. Upon reading the Twitter, Scott Couchenour took the idea and set up a Facebook group called the 365 Club.2 The premise of the club was quite simple. Those who joined committed to carrying out 365 acts of kindness in 2009. You wouldn’t think that something like this would catch on and spread like wildfire. But that’s exactly what it did. The Facebook group was formed on January 2. By January 4, it had over 240 members who had committed to 78,000 acts of kindness in 2009.
Michelle, one of the first members of the club, posted this on the group’s site: “Yesterday, I waited until around 2:30 a.m. and I gathered up a bucket of hot, soapy water and took it down to the parking garage in my condo building. I found the dirtiest car on my floor, washed it, dried it, and left a note card in an envelope on the windshield with the words, ‘MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE, PAY IT FORWARD’ on it.”
Deb posted: “This certainly has been a year of more deliberate kindness on my part. One of the easy changes I have made is in driving. I can't tell you how good it feels in rush hour traffic to just let one person go ahead of me. It has seriously become a way of life...”
Steven posted: “I drilled out some bolts on a Honda so a friend could get her license plates off. Got a metal splinter. It didn't hurt too badly. The act of kindness felt better.”
And Sara posted: “The restaurant was packed with only one girl waiting tables. She was obviously overwhelmed but kept a smile on her face and made sure everyone was taken care of. Well, we were very thankful for her works of service at dinner and when we left, her tip was equal to the amount we spent on our dinner.”
Others have posted encouraging words such as: Give of yourself, it’s cheap…You will lock eyes with a number of people in pain today—be kind… Believe that YOU can make a difference… Don’t wait for someone else to do kindness… Kindness is a verb… Love is not love if it’s conditional.
On New Year’s Eve of 2009, the 365 Club celebrated its first birthday. If the growing number of members truly kept their pledge, then 3.6 million acts of kindness were done last year! It was such a success that the group is repeating the challenge in 2010, and currently has 9,985 members—each committing to 365 acts of kindness in the coming year.
These simple acts of kindness are really simple acts of love: putting others before ourselves; going the extra mile; giving instead of getting. As Christians, we should commit to this outpouring of love whether we join the 365 Club or not. Why? Because God is love. And we want to be a mirror of that love. The reason Paul said “the greatest of these is love” is that love is God’s strongest and best character trait. It is why Jesus created, was born, forgave, died, rose, and prepares Heaven for us. And in return He asks a simple thing: to love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds—and to love our neighbors as ourselves.