It’s not the latest dance craze or an investment in a floating animal centre – doing an ARK stands for Acts of Random Kindness!
When I was involved in taking School Assemblies, we introduced an ‘ARK’ day – where everyone (including Staff, Parents, Governors, Dinner Ladies etc) would do Acts of Random Kindness. The kids were brilliant and really embraced the idea of encouraging them to think of how they could help others in very simple ordinary ways. From tidying up in class, clearing rubbish from the playground, sharing what they had with those who didn’t have, speaking words of kindness and so on – the list was endless, and the School never looked so clean and tidy!!!!
We would start the day with an Assembly and I used the story of the Feeding of the 5,000 to illustrate how a small contribution from a little boy, went a long, long way when Jesus got involved! Sadly, it’s too easy to see ‘unkindness’ being demonstrated, so this day allowed the whole School to have a change of mind-set.
This week, I was called to the ‘Boardroom’ at work. My first thought was, what have I done wrong?? Being summoned to the Boardroom was usually unnerving, so when I entered the room, I was pleasantly surprised to be told to take a large box of Pizza! A well-known Pizza Delivery Company had arrived at the prison (unannounced) with Free Pizza’s for all of the staff – they said they were appreciative of all the hard work the Prison Staff were doing, that this was their way of saying ‘Thank You’! That was an Act of Random Kindness. (Although it put me in a rather difficult situation, as I then had to explain, when I got home, why I hadn’t eaten the sandwiches my wife had made for me)!!!!!!
There was an image on social media recently of a UPS lorry pulling a FEDEX lorry out of deep snow. The companies are major competitors but the kindness of humanity prevailed as one driver helped another from a rival firm.
It made me think of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. The Priest and the Levite, both on the ‘same side’ as the attacked man, ignored him and passed him by. However, a Samaritan, an enemy of the Jews, ‘took pity on him, went to him and bandaged his wounds’. The pity in his heart and his emotions overcame his mind which must have told him that he was ‘the enemy’ and needn’t bother to help. His compassion turned into physical action as he tended to the man’s needs. Then he went ‘the extra mile’ by taking him to the innkeeper and paying for his care. We learn three principles from this story.
- Lack of love is easy to justify but it’s never right.
- Our neighbour is anyone who is in need, no matter what their age, colour, race, language, gender, faith or social background.
- Love means actively meeting another’s needs, even doing more than is seemingly necessary.
Wherever we live, there are needy people living close by. We must keep our eyes open for opportunities to help and then actually doing so when the occasion arises. Love should always prevail.
The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 3:24 (after previously reminding us in v23 that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standards), ‘Yet God, with underserved kindness, declares that we are righteous…because of Jesus’…
Go on, try doing an ARK today and be blessed!!