Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Importance of a Loving Surprise Now and Then

Not long ago I went to my favorite Starbucks for an early morning meeting. I walked up to the cashier and as usual ordered my latte, pulling out my money to pay for it. Just then the barista said, "Oh, by the way someone is paying for all the drinks this morning. There's no charge."

The cashier went on to explain that a person had apparently come in early that morning and dropped $500 down and said to cover everyone's beverages until the money ran out.

You know what's interesting? That small gesture of generosity kind of made my day as it seemed to do with a number of us who waited for our coffee. People were buzzing about it each with a smile on their face if only for a few minutes. It was nice being surprised by someone's kindness. Sure, it was only worth a few dollars, but his or her thoughtfulness went significantly beyond their investment.

In fact, that person's actions reminded me that while I too should be willing to sacrifice even for strangers, I also need to look for opportunities to surprise those close to me. While I certainly love them, I don't go out of my way nearly enough to just give a surprise or extra dose of love and kindness to them through an obvious action or word.

What might that look like? Well, there are no doubt hundreds of answers to that question depending upon you, your circumstances and the people you love. But here are a few suggestions. First of all, give some doses of affirming or encouraging words. Have you told your spouse lately how proud you are of him or her or what a great husband, wife or parent they are?

Have you told your kids lately what a terrific job they're doing in school, around the house or if they're an adult complimented them on their parenting? Have you told a friend how much you appreciate their listening ear and helpful thoughts.

Have you brought one of your office team a surprise coffee or other favorite treat just because?

You see if we're not careful we'll become like the man whose wife wondered why he never said he loved her to which he responded, "Why should I do that? I told you I loved you when we got married. That should be enough." Wrong answer.

Words are powerful. I've said this before but let me repeat this important verse from Proverbs 18:21, The tongue has the power of death and life. Or Proverbs 25:11, A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Thoughts unexpressed are just thoughts. Those close to us don't typically read our minds. And loving actions have great impact especially to those who respond more emotionally to what they see than what they hear.

Get creative. Have fun with this. And know your audience. Use words or actions or your presence depending upon the love language of the person you're with. Every now and then I stop on my way home from a long day away from my wife and bring her one of her favorite treats letting her know I was thinking of her even though I was gone all day. More often than not, she surprises me, though, with a fun note or creative card. Our actions don't have to cost a lot of money. But we do need to be intentional.

Here's a question that might help you determine what you could try: What could someone do or say to YOU that would encourage you and lift your spirit today? Chances are good that someone in your world would love to receive the same from you today. Go for it! In fact, be bold and ask God to open the door for you and then look for the next opportunity. It might make your day!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. Just happened to have read these verses this morning, which are related:

    Luke 6:32-36

    32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.