In our pocket of society where pampered affluence is rampant, we are often at a loss to know what kind of gifts to buy our friends and loved ones on special occasions. For some people (especially those who "have everything"), the standard gift won't cut it. Nothing in the shopping mall catches our fancy.

I have a suggestion. It may not seem that expensive or sound very novel, but believe me, it works every time. It's one of those gifts that has great value but no price tag. It can't be lost nor will it ever be forgotten. No problem with size, either. It fits all shapes, any age, and every personality. This ideal gift is...yourself. Don't forget the unusual value of kindness.

That's right, give some of yourself away:

  • Give an hour of your time to someone who needs you.
  • Give a note of encouragement to someone feeling down.
  • Give a hug of affirmation to someone in your family.
  • Give some time to someone who is lonely.
  • Give a meal to someone who is sick.
  • Give a word of compassion to someone who has suffered a loss.
  • Give a second chance to the fallen.
  • Give a deed of thoughtfulness to someone who is often overlooked.
  • Give a gentle response to the frustrated.

In the words of Ephesians 4:32, be kind. My sister Luci paraphrases this verse, "Just be nice."

Covering all the one another commands of the Bible (and there's a lot of them!) is the umbrella of kindness. Kindness braids mercy and grace, humility and gentleness all together. Kindness gives grace, requires humility, and asks that we think of others before ourselves.

Ever notice that kindness is most appreciated when life has gone sideways? When you're having "one of those days," kindness speaks that thoughtful word and draws you back like a lifeline.

Who should the world look to as a model of kindness but the body of Christ? Unfortunately, ask the man on the street how he would describe the Christians he knows and I dare say kind would not be his first or even his second response. I say we change that.

Kindness is something you and I can do today. A gentle response. Being the first to forgive. Giving the gift of time, compassion, and thoughtfulness. In ordinary ways, we can give ourselves away and, by doing so, model God's agape love. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4 — "Love is kind."

Look for ways today to give ordinary kindness, and you'll find there's nothing ordinary about it.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "The Gift for the Person Who Has Everything," Insights (June 2001): 1-2. Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.