It was supposed to be a routine booking. The Almost Amazing Marko would show up at the Project 44 Farm on a Saturday afternoon to entertain kids and adults during an open house event. I would walk around with my bag of tricks as folks stood in line for BBQ, strolled the grounds and toured the hydroponic greenhouse that raises organic crops for the hungry.
Project 44 originally began as an auto ministry, fixing up and giving away reliable transportation for those in need. During the Saturday presentations, a ministry volunteer was presented a car. A pastor, acting as master-of-ceremonies, then called out my name and asked me to stand up. I was a little confused. “Is he going to ask me to do a magic trick for the crowd?” I wondered silently. My brain began racing, trying to come up with an impromptu routine.
The pastor, looking down from the treehouse, announced that my current ministry vehicle, a beat-up 2000 Ford Expedition, needed replacing. My heart started beating a little faster. As he continued speaking, a Honda van rolled up. One Man Show was getting new wheels!
I couldn’t believe it–so much so that I was at a loss for words. (Preachers do not typically suffer from this malady). Over the next few days, I pieced together the plans and decisions that a lot of people had to make to get this van to me. This was not a “random act of kindness.” This was a planned, purposeful act of kindness. This was God’s people in action.
I’m not opposed to random acts of kindness. Sometimes needs pop up right in front of our eyes that we need to meet on the spot — things like opening the door for someone with a handful of packages or thanking a soldier-in-uniform for his or her service. But random, by definition, means “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method.” (Merriam-Webster) It seems to me that Christian believers should not wait for needs to come to them, but go out to where the needs are as the Lord did: “… he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil…” (Acts 10:38 NIV)
“Accidental Christians” do an occasional good deed when it falls into their laps. They go to church, but rarely go out of their way to exercise their gifts and talents for the benefit of others. Purposeful Christians, like the folks at Project 44, have a passion to meet the needs of people–and they go about doing it with principled plans.
Which one do you want to be?
Follow with reverent steps the great example
Of Him whose holy work was doing good;
So shall the wide earth seem our Father’s temple,
Each loving life a psalm of gratitude. —Whittier