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How small gestures can have a big impact.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” -John Bunya

Several years ago, we were out to eat as a family.

My three boys Henry, Patrick and Jack fought the entire time.

My typically angelic little girl Grace whined the entire time.

And Beth and I worked desperately the entire time to keep the noise from scaring away other diners, drinks from being spilled and food from being thrown.

It was a struggle! And one we lost.

As we finished dinner, I apologized to the sweet waitress and told her the faster she brought me the bill, the faster we’d get out of her hair.

Not surprisingly, she returned quickly with our bill.

And that’s when the surprising thing happened.

She handed it to me, smiled and told me that someone in the restaurant had covered our bill. She said the person remembered the days when their dinners were chaotic and wanted to treat us tonight for making their night.

I stood up and glanced around the restaurant, looking for the person, the family, the kind soul.

No one stood out.

I asked the waitress to please let us know who it was so we could thank them. She refused to, telling me again the person wanted no credit.

We stood up as a family and practically floated out of the place.

Not so much because someone saved me from a dinner bill, but because someone thought enough to think about us, to be generous to us, to empathize with us.

It literally made my night – and the night of my kids.

As I tucked them in that night, told them stories and finally prayed with them, my two oldest chose to pray for the person who bought us dinner.

Kindness has a ripple effect.

The ripple from generosity positively impacts someone else’s life, that is true. But the real gift is that the life most deeply touched is the one who gave.

You have not fully lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

Friends, there is a lot of pain in this world. And sometimes the feeling of not being able to make a difference in everything often keeps us from doing anything.

But it is in our smallest gestures that the biggest difference can sometimes be seen. Our bill at the restaurant that night amounted to very little, but we’ve never once forgotten the gesture.

This week, look for a chance to do something for someone who can never repay you. Pay attention at the grocery store, at work, in the school pickup line or across your fence and wait for that ripple effect.

You won’t forget it either.

Today is your day.  Live Inspired.

11 replies on “Someone Who Can Never Repay You”

What a great story to share on Random Acts of Kindness Day! It made me think of Lela Thompson, the organizer of Shayley’s Angels, the group that helped to make Random Acts of Kindness Day a state holiday in Missouri. What a story she has to share. Thanks John!

I didn’t think it could happen the way it did, BUT God! My daughter’s school lay away for three of our grandchildren was no small feat. But when she went to make the final payment, the cashier told her that someone had paid it in full. I cried on the phone as she shared this great news because she works as a apartment manager and one of her residents does this every year as a gift during Christmas for other residents who are behind on their rent. As the apartment manager she has to make the transaction or figure out who could best benefit from the gift, instead of randomly selecting, she says God always whispers who gets the blessing! We can all PAY IT FORWARD, whether big or small.

Wowza. I was at the grocery store this weekend, the lady behind me stuck up a conversation. In that moment I wanted to pay for her groceries, she said she could take care of it, I said, ” I know but I want to” she asked why, and I told her to read my shirt, it says IF NOT NOW, then When, If not me then who. She prayed with me, and her son, said “People here are so nice”, he then proceeded to help put my groceries in the car. I said the only way we are going to change this world is if we are nice to each other, if we teach this to our younger generation. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

The thing that really struck me about this story John is how much joy that person got from seeing your family even though you and Beth surely thought the people around you were feeling the opposite of joy! It is a great reminder that everyone sees the world through their own lens. That person saw a messy and chaotic yet strong family unit just getting through life as best they could. Thanks for sharing!

This is such an awesome story. God gave me a ministry last year that is all about encouraging and loving on complete strangers by handing out a simple card. The card reads, “Empowering, encouraging, and inspiring others to be the most amazing version of themselves.”
On the other side it reads, “GOD HAS THIS MINISTRY”. Recently I handed my card out and later that day received a text from the recipient. She was asking for prayer for her family situation. Three weeks later, she called me to tell me the day I gave her that card she was plotting how to kill herself. Just before I ran into her, she had asked God to send her a sign that He is real. Then my card was handed to her. When I hand these out, I encourage the recipient to call or text me if they need prayer. I am so thankful she reached out. And this was the assurance to keep being His hands, feet, and voice.
You never know the impact your act of kindness will make on someone’s life! Always Be Kind!!

I LOVE this story! As a family with 6 LOUD kids we seldom entered any restaurant except the one with Golden Arches. Even then we didn’t last long. I recall one time we took all 6 to a nice restaurant and by the time we got done our youngest had a major explosion leaking out of his diaper, more food was under the table than on it, and one of the older kids..who just happens to be a good friend of yours, smacked his younger brother on the nose bringing blood and screams, amping up the noise level in this quiet restaurant to a rock concert. Needless to say we didn’t venture into any place that had cloth napkins for YEARS. Maybe a kind person would have picked up the tab but we had to make a mad dash out of there due to the blood and poop following our path of destruction. God bless you John! Keep sharing… I SO relate!

It is amazing how one extra minute to empathize with another’s situation rather than quickly judge and gossip. We have all had similar situations and I find it amazing how often I read of the judgement that someone feels the need to tout on social media as it is happening – much like I continue to see the world video bad things happening rather than help – and so on – the ripple effect can go both ways, and why not start it being positive and catch ourselves when we begin to judge. I love your blogs because they remind you to be human first – so simple – on the flip side, as someone wrote earlier about the grocery and people helping out in line – so many good little deeds to occur and are often overshadowed by the quick thrill bad news stories – I am thankful you took the time to remind us to seek first to understand, and I will put this on my affirmation list for today – to make sure to find the good in all and seek first to understand! Happy Monday all.

As someone who just lost our home in the Lahaina fires, we have definitely been lifted up by so many strangers in so many ways. We are so grateful for that, but also know there’s others in our community who have more needs than us, so we have also been paying it forward with what we can. I worry that it’s not enough. Thank you for the reminder that even a small gesture means a lot.

I always tell my kids and now grandkids that everyone is one catastrophic incident away from devastation. We need to stop looking at homeless people in disgust and do something kind for them – a hot meal, a new jacket, a warm pair of socks! It’s up to all of us to lift people up when they are down – not push them down further! I will share your story with them to strengthen what I have been saying – being kind does matter!

I work at a grocery chain, in a small town, last week alone, 5 different people helped people in my line who were short, from .70 cents to 165.xx dollars. I only work there PT, have a FT job someplace else. I wonder how many others have been helped, by a stranger, a neighbor, or family. Hats off to all, who take action. (only 24 hour work week). Blessings to all, especially those who contribute to mankind.

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