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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

It's the Little Things

Ahhh, it's wedding season again. I have had several friends get married in the last year, and I’ve enjoyed watching them prepare for the big day and for the lifelong commitment it represents.

There is one trend I have noticed among new brides-to-be: everyone wants to offer them advice. From their closest girlfriends to strangers they meet on airplanes, marital counsel abounds.

The bridal shower I attended this past weekend was no exception.

As the bride-to-be opened presents and read her cards aloud, she shared the advice and encouragement offered by her friends. There were the usual admonitions that every bride needs to remember: keep God at the center of the relationship, hold tight to your faith, and resolve to stand by your man through both the good and the bad.

But one recommendation really caught my attention. In one of her cards, a girlfriend had referenced a Web site, www.the-generous-wife.com, which listed ways for wives to daily show love and kindness to their husbands.

The Web site was created by Lori J. Byerly, author of The Generous Wife, a book that was published several years ago. She writes that she developed the site because she noticed many couples were not equipped to handle the ups and downs that marriage brings. When faced with the trials and stresses of life, the couples could not cope and their relationships suffered.

“Instead of digging in deeper, standing together and nourishing each other, they withdraw in an attempt to nourish themselves, giving up kindness and care, handing out leftovers instead of their very best,” she writes.

The Web site features a daily email where women can sign up to receive a new “generous tip” each day. The tips include a mixture of romantic, practical, sexual, and spiritual ideas that women can use to bless their spouses.

I was curious to see what these recommendations were, so I logged onto the site where I found a listing of the most recent tips. Among the suggestions:

  • Buy your husband something that relates to his favorite hobby.
  • Maintain your bedroom as a special and romantic place by keeping it clean and free of clutter.
  • Make it a point to snuggle with your husband each day, as most men are very physical and love to have their wives touch them.

There is also a companion site, http://www.the-generous-husband.com, which offers tips for husbands to bless their wives.

The presumption behind these sites is an important one. So often in life, and in our relationships, it’s the little things that matter most. Performing daily acts of kindness for people will demonstrate our love for them.

What a wonderful idea, I thought, and not just for marriages! As I pondered the tips from the author, I realized that this was also good advice for all of our relationships. Not only is kindness contagious and serves to make the world a better place, but as Christians it is a vital aspect of our faith.

Repeatedly, Scripture advises us to put the needs of others before our own.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:4

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." - Galatians 5:14

If we take these admonitions to heart, we should be seeking ways to bless those around us daily. Whether it means going out of our way to help a neighbor, visiting residents in a nursing home, helping a co-worker with a big project, or sending an encouraging card to a friend, we have numerous opportunities to reach out to people around us every day.

These things may seem minor, but they can make a huge difference in someone’s life. The small stuff matters.

As I did some research, I discovered that a lot of people are already doing this. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (http://www.actsofkindness.org) was established in 1995 as a resource for people committed to spreading kindness. The Web site offers suggestions and materials for people wanting to inspire others to practice kindness in their schools, communities, and workplaces.

The Web site explains that, “As people tap into their own generous human spirit and share kindness with one another, they discover for themselves the power of kindness to effect positive change.”

I agree with that sentiment, kindness does have the power to effect positive change.

But as Christians, we know the true secret behind that power. It is not our own “generous spirit” that we draw from, but it is from the Holy Spirit that we get the desire and strength to serve others.

At www.HelpOthers.org, another site dedicated to surprising people with kind acts, readers write in with their stories of helping people all in the name of kindness. Why shouldn’t we do the same in the name of Jesus?

While this concept of doing small acts of kindness for people is not a new idea, it was a good reminder for me to be watching each day for ways that I can serve others. As people see Christ’s love demonstrated by our actions, they will be drawn to Him.

What better “positive change” could we hope for than that?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. - Galatians 6:9

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