He shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever. (Ps. 18:50)

Going through the McDonald’s drive thru line for breakfast, I became a little irritated that the car in front of me was taking so long. “How slow can they be?” I thought. Finally, she pulled away. I gave my order and waited to hear the total. I was surprised to hear the clerk say, “Ma’am, your breakfast has been paid for. The lady in the car before you said it was something about random acts of kindness her church was practicing.” I offered a quick prayer for forgiveness and thanked God I had not blown my horn!

In a culture where kindness is often portrayed as weakness, we become used to a tough mentality. Hold your own. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You can do better than that. Kind words and acts are at a premium, and are doled out rather sparingly. Therefore, we have a tendency to become a little crusty and even a little jaded.

Then God bestows a kindness on us. Someone gives us a word of encouragement. A creditor forgives a debt. A burden is lifted. God has been kind to us, and that is all we need to get through a difficult time.

We may be God’s best conduit of kindness to someone. The phrase “pay it forward” has become popular in recent years. The concept, however, is not new. It was God’s idea all along.

Count a few kindnesses God has shown you recently. Then pay them forward.

Dianne Swaim is a chaplain at the VA Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Married to Gordon, she is the mother of three and grandmother of nine.