Acts of Kindness All the TimeMarch 20, 2022 - 12:00 am
Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right. — Psalm 106:3
In honour of my father, IFCJ Canada Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
I once heard a story about a man who was asked what his wife did for living. He replied, “She takes care of kids who have no other home. She feeds them, bathes them, and takes care of them. She also spends her own money on the things they need.” The listener looked quite impressed, and then the man added, “By the way, the kids happen to be our own.” Then he was quiet as if to say: “Should that really matter?”
In Psalm 106 we read, “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” When translated from the original Hebrew, it reads, “Blessed are those… who always perform acts of charity.” Indeed, this is the traditional Jewish understanding of the verse. But what does that mean to be engaged in acts of charity and kindness all the time?
As the man in the story illustrated, acts of kindness are relative. I can take care of my kids, and it can be completely selfish — if I do it out of a desire to make myself feel good and for my kids to make me look good. Or I can take care of my kids as an incredible act of kindness — I care for them out of sincere concern for their well-being and I do it with love. It’s all in how we see it.
Acts of Kindness All the Time
Along those lines, this verse teaches us that, with the right perspective, everything we do can be turned into acts of kindness all the time, including taking care of our own children. It all depends on how and why we do what we do. Even taking care of our own self can be an act of kindness if our ultimate goal is to better serve others.
Do I eat to indulge in pleasure, or to give my body energy in order to help others? Do I sleep in order to indulge in laziness, or to be able to wake up refreshed, ready to serve God? When our ultimate goal is to help others, everything we do — even the things we do for ourselves — is counted by God as an act of charity. Indeed, it is possible to be engaged in kindness all of the time!
What are you doing today? Or more importantly, why? Make it your goal to help others. If you earn money, share it. If you relax and re-energize in the morning, help someone out in the afternoon. We can transform every single moment of the day into an act of charity and love.