You just got JOY’D! Has this every happen to you? Or have you ever had the opportunity to do this for someone else? In the St. Louis area, we have a local Christian radio station, Joy FM 99.1 that encourages everyone to share some JOY as they go about their day. Some do this by paying for someone’s food or coffee order for the person behind them in the drive thru. They encourage you to think of different ways you can help someone… mowing their grass, paying for a family’s meal in a restaurant and so on!
Random acts of kindness absolutely melt my heart every time I witness it or hear about it!
As a teenager I worked at a fast food restaurant right after I turned 16 years old until I was 18. This particular restaurant strived to have their average age of workers to be 27, so I was one of the younger ones there. I was in high school, working to buy a car and have spending money, but many of the people I worked with had families to support, making a minimum wage or just a little over. I built relationships with these folks and it would tug at my heart strings to hear all their financial struggles. One of the ladies I worked with, we’ll call Jane. Jane and her husband had 2 small kids and right around Thanksgiving they got hit with some unexpected bills. I wasn’t a part of the conversation but I heard her crying one evening in the restaurant talking to 2 other workers. She was telling them the extra bills would take almost all the money they were going to have to buy their kids Christmas gifts. I was tearing up listening to their conversation. I immediately thought I had to do something but I also knew I wanted to do It with her not knowing it was me. I put a lot of thought into it and prayed! I remember being so excited and nervous once I had a plan. They were renting a local apartment and even though I knew I could not afford to pay a whole month’s rent for them, I thought at least I could pay part of it. I called the apartment complex to find out where they paid their rent at. I took in cash in an envelope with this family’s name on it. I explained to the clerk a little about what this family was going through and that I wanted to pay part of their rent for the 1st of December. I told her how important it was to me that they not know anything about where the money came from. She said, “well what do you want me to say?” I said, “please just tell them Merry Christmas!” I left out of there like I had just did a drug deal! I was giddy with excitement, yet still afraid I was going to get caught. A few days later I was working at the restaurant in the late evening. Jane wasn’t working that evening but she came bursting into the lobby, a couple of the workers stepped over to talk to her. I smiled and said hi, but just kept working. She was crying, but now it was happy tears. I heard as she told the other workers how when they went to pay their rent, they found out part of it had been paid! Our co-workers were all inquisitive, what?! who? why? She said, “I don’t know they just said Merry Christmas!” They were hugging her, she was so joyful and talking faster than I can after a lot of caffeine! She was telling them how much this had lifted their family’s spirit. I just kept working with tears streaming down my face.
For many years I didn’t share this story with anyone, but I think God allowed me to be there that evening in the restaurant to hear the joy this small act of obedience gave to this precious family. It taught me at a young age the Joy of being able to give with NO strings attached, it’s humbling but it gives unmeasurable amount of Joy to the giver.
Matthew 6:3-4 (MSG) When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it! Quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
A few years ago I wanted to show one of our sons some fun little things that we could do to prayerfully bring a little joy to someone’s day… so we left extra quarters in a car wash, the type with those hand sprayers, we left some by the vacuums there at the car wash and we stuffed quarters in a few random carts at Aldi’s. Someone that lives in the city told me, they had gone around with their kids and fed the meters where people were parked. I know people that have mailed gas cards or grocery gift cards out to people they knew were struggling, with just a note saying, someone was thinking of you!
I LOVED the movie Pay it Forward, partly because it was so much about helping someone else out, with no expectation of them doing anything for you, but just in hope that they would help someone else out, given the opportunity. We all have different resources, talents and abilities… if you are blessed with finances give generously, if you are blessed with time, use that to help others!
Spread the Joy any way that you can and you will certainly see that you are the one abundantly FULL of JOY!!