You have probably seen one. It looks like a watch, yet sleeker. I believe it does keep time, though. It can come in a variety of colors. It keeps track of the steps you take and monitors your pulse and sleep patterns. It is very popular and was one of the most purchased items for Christmas gifts. Though sold by various companies and coming with various capabilities, “it” is a fitness tracker. Chances are pretty good that you own one, or someone close to you does.
Somehow recently, my mind stumbled across the idea of a kindness tracker. Not that a mechanical one could be made, but the very thought that I could somehow, each day, keep track of acts of kindness that I do excites me. It would not be for me to share with anyone, or to compare myself to anyone, or to compote with anyone. No, it would be just to keep myself motivated to do nice things for others. I could keep a running total in my mind throughout the day, and then think back over the list at the end of the day. This would supply a certain amount of satisfaction at the end of a trying day, or maybe, if the total was quite low, it could supply motivation for the next day.
There is an old story that used to make the rounds of bulletin articles and sermons. It told of man who wanted his son to have something to do that would make him feel good about himself. The son was lazing around on a snowy afternoon and the father told his son to get up and go to the neighbor’s yard and shovel the snow off the sidewalk and driveway…without the neighbor knowing who did it.
Ah, there’s the rub! There is an element of self-esteem and satisfaction that should not be fed by someone else acknowledging or rewarding an act of kindness. We should just do it just because it is the kind thing to do.
A few days ago, a young boy in California found a woman’s wallet she had lost at a sporting event which he also attended. She simply counted the cost of the loss (credit cards, driver’s license and a moderate amount of cash) and moved on by canceling her credit cards and replacing her wallet and license. A few days later, however, she received a package in the mail containing her wallet and a handwritten note from the ten-year-old boy. What joy she felt! What joy he must have felt!
We can enrich our lives and the lives of others by being more aware of our acts of kindness, as well as those done by others. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Calvert City church of Christ
Calvert City, KY