How a Simple Act of Kindness Can Change a Life

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Last week I was reminded of the power of a simple act of kindness.

Our family has been in Oahu, Hawaii for the last week.  We were just hanging out on the beach when a random man and his daughter came up and asked if we wanted to have their bodyboard.  He said that they were flying out that night and didn’t want to take it back with them.

I never would have imagined a piece of styrofoam could be so fun.  Our kids had a blast playing with the bodyboard.

The day before we left Hawaii, we challenged our kids to find someone else to give the bodyboard.

We quickly decided on an Aussie couple with two small daughters.  We gave it to them, and the girl who was 5 or 6 years old had a huge smile from ear to ear.  As we walked away, she was already sliding back and forth across the white surf.

I’ve been reflecting on that simple exchange both as a giver and recipient.  What amazes me is that it was so small and simple, and yet so meaningful.

It makes me wonder, what small ways could I be helping others?

It also makes me wonder how many times have we passed up a God-given opportunity?


I wonder how often God opens a door for a simple act of kindness.  How often am I too self-centered, too busy, or too self-focused to miss God’s opportunity to touch a life.

Colossians 4:5 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Perhaps this is why Paul says we should be watchful in prayer (Col. 4:2).

We must train ourselves to watch for opportunities.

Last week, Joe Plemon shared a story where a simple act of kindness caused someone to rethink suicide.

However, there are also missed opportunities.

Missed Opportunity.

Before flying to Hawaii, I was at a financial bloggers conference in Denver.

Since parking at the hotel was $27 per day, I decided to walk two blocks and pay $6 per day.  As I walked back and forth from the hotel to the parking area, I passed a homeless person.  During one of my trips, I felt like I should introduce myself.  Perhaps there was something I could do to bless that person.

But I kept walking.

On the flight from Dallas to Hawaii, I read part of the book Wrecked.  In it, Jeff Goins talks about his experiences with the homeless.  The difference between us is that he saw and capitalized opportunity (though he admits he almost passed it over too), and I passed over an opportunity.

Can we make a commitment together?

Let’s watch and pray.  Let’s make the most of every opportunity.  Let’s do something small.  Let’s do something big.  Let’s do something today that shows kindness to our neighbor.

What ways has someone blessed you with a simple act of kindness?  What ways have you recently been able to be a blessing to someone? 


  1. Ted Calvert says

    Your reflection “I wonder how often God opens a door for a simple act of kindness. How often am I too self-centered, too busy, or too self-focused to miss God’s opportunity to touch a life.” is probably the key – it came home to me last month when I suddenly saw that small anxieties, fears and annoyances were so filling my thoughts that I was crowding out God’s small promptings for the moment. One of the key thoughts in the book Return from Tomorrow, is how these distractions, pushed to excess can even rob us of life.

  2. says

    I would love to think that the bodyboard you gave to the Aussie family might be handed to another family too and how wonderful it would be to think that that certain objects carries a lot of fun and happy memories with it? As for the Homeless person, you are not the only one who’s been in that shoes. In my place, there’s about dozens of homeless people that i pass everyday, sometimes i get the chance to offer them a little food, sometimes what’s left of my penny’s but its not just right to always fell for for them like doing the same charitable act every time you passed them by.

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