Reaping Kindness

Have you ever been shopping with two hungry children under 5 at Aldi after 5pm? The hangry is rising to an entirely new level, beads of sweat are dripping from your brow as you start breathing deep, calming breaths of survival trying to not notice the wandering glances towards the sweet cherubs sitting in your cart who are turning into wolves, mouths watering. “Just get the food on the check out belt and we will survive!” you say to yourself.  As you place the bottled waters and apple sauce pouches on the belt, shrills come from your two-year-old and you softly smile at the cashier in hopes she will return to you an understanding smirk. This was my reality one evening. I was tired from a long day at work and my kids were so ready to be home after a day playing with friends, and yet cupboards do not fill themselves.

As we made it to the parking lot I began scanning my brain planning the rest of our evening: find the car and safely put children in seats, unload the groceries, put back the Aldi cart to get my quarter, drive home, start dinner. Aspen squeaks a sweet request for a pouch and juice box; Liam needs one too. As I am fumbling with groceries and feel anxiety brimming up, a woman approaches me who I has seen shopping along the aisles of the store. She greets me, “Hi! Would it be okay if I unload these groceries for you and take your cart back? Then you can help your kids and reset a minute?” I’m sure that my mouth gaped for a full moment before I recalculated that another mama had fully seen me and reached to help. She carefully loaded my groceries and softly said, “Enjoy these sweet moments with them.” I thanked her and sat in my car a bit dumbfounded. Have you ever been shopping with two hungry children at Aldi, and been the receiver of a selfless act of kindness?

Since my incident at Aldi, I have been asking myself the question, “how do I become a better receiver?” Often the Biblical principle of reaping and sowing is shared in reference to tithing or donating money, it absolutely has a place there!  I would like to also introduce the idea that the sowing and pouring into others (freely given) may be returned to you in a reaping of acts of kindness. I sat for a full minute not sure as to how to react to this kind stranger who in a very approachable and loving way had simply given a helping hand. I’m sure I made it awkward, I have a tendency for awkward sometimes. Yet, this small exchange between two strangers has had a huge impact on my thoughts in the passing weeks. “Am, I setting myself up to allow others in my life to love and help me or do I let pride step in? Do you know how to receive when God puts a person in your path who freely gives love?”

I can’t say that I have answered these questions yet. I started in scripture and have found this verse in Luke 6:38 to begin the process of answering my burning question. It states, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I had always tied this verse to money from messages I’ve listened to. When you look at the section header for this piece of scripture though, its entitled Judging Others. It sits in a few other lines of precious text, parables of how to look at people in a way that casts sin aside, and allows you to boldly move forward in love, holding back all inclinations to judge. I have been so quick to lend a hand to others that I haven’t been noticing the own speck of pride in my eye that is blocking me from receiving a cup running over. The piece of pride that fibbed to me,  “ I don’t need help.” The scary truth is that believing the lie that we don’t need help from others can cut us off from authentic connection. It blocks a blessing coming to you.

I am still grasping this new way to look at sowing and reaping, and so ready to plant a garden of kindness, watered with good will, mercy, and joy. I’m pulling out the weeds of pride hard and spraying them with weed killer. I encourage you to ask yourself some questions, and ponder the flora of your garden.  Is there an ivy in your garden that chokes out the flowers you intentionally planted? What will you do to move into a season of receiving? What is God asking you to grow in to move into a higher understanding of the principle of reaping and sowing?

Emma Shetterly
Middle School Pastor

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