Gifts of Goodness

For the month of December, I have been reading through the gospel of Luke which details Jesus’ life. Throughout this time, I have been meditating on Jesus’ character, trying to pick out ways that I can be more like him. The following moment most recently struck me:

Luke 21:1-4 n (NIV)
The Widow’s Offering
21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

One of the things Jesus does in this moment is point out the goodness that he sees in the widow to others. Acknowledging goodness in others is a unique trait of Jesus–and one he does throughout his life. I can imagine that he did that often with those around them. I can imagine him building up his followers as they grew to be more like him and yearned to learn from him.

However, I had to ask myself–how often do I do this for others? How often are my acknowledgments merely compliments on physical characteristics? (“I love that shirt” “You did a great job singing on Sunday” “Thank you for helping out”)

In the classroom, a powerful management tool is noticing, complementing, and encouraging. I do this all day long with my students–how come I do not do this with those in my life?

I have begun to challenge myself to point out acts of goodness that I see others in my life doing. Sometimes it takes vulnerability to reach out and say those things on our heart, and sometimes it just takes noticing and immediately acting.

Notice, compliment, encourage.

I encourage you to reflect on the past week, month, or several months and bring someone to mind who has shown an act of goodness, selflessness, kindness — any trait of Jesus.

Imagine Jesus pointing out their goodness to others as he did with the widow, and think of what he would say to that person and how his love would pour out for them–I encourage you to reach out to that person as well, maybe let them know what it meant to you, or maybe share their story with others.

Christmas time is the season of giving–maybe your greatest gift this year could be the gift of kindness in pointing out the goodness in others.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25: 24

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