Saturday, September 13, 2008

an example unaware...

I was reminded today of how many times we may influence the actions of others without even realizing it. I had just finished doing a little grocery shopping and had loaded my bags into my car. The store was in a not-so-nice area of town, and many of the shoppers had left their carts right where they had emptied them. As I pushed my cart several lanes away to the 'cart corral,' I collected the stray carts I passed on my way. I didn't really think about it; I just figured I might as well take them along with my own.

When I was several yards from the corral, a big man nearby said "Here, let me help you!" and came over and took each of the carts from me and pushed them the rest of the way into the cart corral. I was surprised by his help and flashing him a big, grateful smile said "Well, thank you very much! That's really kind of you!"

His response to me, as he finished wrestling the carts into place, was, "Well, I figured if you could be nice [putting other people's carts away], then so could I!"

I thought about that all the way home... about how one small act of kindness or thoughtfulness can be so contagious... about how we can influence others by our deeds or by our words, no matter how small they may seem at the time. I wonder how many times the things we do in our daily life influence the behaviors of others-- for good or for bad.

It was a good reminder for me today-- a reminder to be aware of my actions and my words... a reminder to use them for good, to encourage, to bless others, to set an example. It reminded me that others may be watching, even in those 'normal, everyday' unguarded moments of regular life. It was a reminder to live 'aware' and to do my best to be a reflection of the One Whose every word and deed is about pointing to the Father.

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. ~John 13:34-35

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
~Ephesians 4:29

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