We recently reflected about things we’re glad we did – once we actually do them.
You know, the things we often put off or even dread doing, but we’re so happy we did them afterward.
Continuing in this vein, let’s consider what can happen when we act on those little nudges in our hearts to do something nice or helpful for someone else. Today, we often hear them called random acts of kindness.
I baked a ham recently. It was one of those big spiral sliced ones we usually find on sale around Easter.
Our family enjoyed it, and there was plenty left. After a variety of leftovers the next week, including ham and biscuits, ham sandwiches and ham chowder, we were finally ready for a break.
But then I came across the scrap-laden ham bone still wrapped in aluminum foil in our garage refrigerator.
Yes, we have an overflow refrigerator in our garage.
It comes in handy for drinks, large containers, and occasionally even farm livestock medications. After all, our kitchen refrigerator stays pretty full, its shelves often needing relief.
But it’s true that out of sight is out of mind, and I often forget about things I’ve quickly shoved in that outside refrigerator – like I did the ham bone.
Upon discovering it, I felt guilty about the prospect of not using it. I guess it’s the influence of both my dad and my grandmother, but I do feel guilty throwing away “good scraps.”
I’ve written about my maternal grandmother before (my paternal grandmother died before I was born), who was a product of being raised during the Great Depression years.
She threw away nothing much. She lived to be 97, and she was definitely a big influence on me.
Anyway, we’d had our fill of the ham, so at least our dogs could enjoy the tasty scraps clinging to the bone, I thought.
But there was one bone and two dogs. Sigh. It would take effort – and a meat saw.
Effort. I don’t always make the effort. Thoughts ran through my head about times I’ve shared things I’ve cooked with others.
Maybe it was a leftover plate or a serving of dessert. No big deal at all, as I simply shared from our surplus.
But some memories have stayed with me of times these simple gestures represented so much more.
You see, turns out the quick deliveries sometimes fed more than stomachs.
Like the time I took a couple of slices of oatmeal pie to the door of a couple from church. The man had cancer.
As I walked to the door, I felt a little silly bringing just pie, thinking I should have done a whole meal.
But experiences like that one, when I simply followed the nudge of the Holy Spirit to do something nice, have taught me it’s not about me or my pie.
It’s about what happens when we’re obedient to the nudge.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, something seemingly insignificant can be transformed into blessings, the ripple-reach of which our eyes may never see.
Like the old hymn we sang Sunday says, “There’s power in the blood!”
Turns out, the lady soon thanked me for the pie, saying it was the only thing that day her husband had been able to eat.
Treatments had affected his taste buds, and not much tasted good to him. But that pie had hit the spot!
That’s just one of many examples I could describe of the transforming power of the Spirit, available to anyone who believes and then obeys in Jesus’ name.
I’m not sure why I’m even surprised any more when I see God working through an act of kindness (which, by the way, I don’t believe are random at all). I guess it’s not so much surprise as it is delight and awe. He is amazing!
You know, maybe we’re each products of a Great Depression.
But, as my grandmother and so many others worked hard then, so may we make the effort to show God’s love now, which we can do by simply obeying - one nudge at a time.
I haven’t shared a recipe lately, so following is that pie recipe, which I found many years ago among my mother-in-law’s recipes, printed in an old Cumberland Presbyterian Women’s booklet.
It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand, and it’s still a family favorite.
2/3 cups melted butter
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup (I use light)
2/3 cups oatmeal (I use old fashioned)
¼ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla (I use heaping)
unbaked pie shell
Optional: sometimes I add cinnamon or miniature chocolate chips.
Mix all ingredients together well and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.
Good served with vanilla ice cream.
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 26 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.