I was telling the story of the ten lepers to a group of kindergarten kids recently. It’s the story of ten lepers coming to Jesus for healing. He simply sends them to the temple to be evaluated as healed by the priests. As they go, they are healed! One of the ten returns to thank Jesus for being healed. This story is traditionally used to teach the need to be thankful.
I told this story with as much drama as I could muster, striving to focus their attention on the need to grateful and to express that gratefulness and praise to God. Right in the middle of that, I was floored by a new thought. This story is not just about being thankful! Why hadn’t I seen this before? It is even more about Jesus freely healing, even when those who were healed were ungrateful!
When I do something good for someone, how often am I doing it while already anticipating the thanks or the recognition I am sure will follow? Am I counting on being noticed and appreciated for those good deeds? What is my motive? It is so- uh, human to do for others because we expect some good return.
In a busy workplace, how often have you heard, or maybe said, something like this? “I’m not helping her restock those trays. She never helps me!” “He never helps me move my patients. I’m not answering his page for help.” So human. It makes sense! Totally understandable! Logical. Reciprocal. Fair even!
What would my workplace be like if I did good, helped coworkers for free, no strings, no expectations of payment in kind? What would my home be like if I did more things for free? Doing caring acts for my wife with no expectation of a return? Even knowing that she would never do similar loving things for me. Note to world: This would NEVER be the case in my house because I am married to the most caring woman ever! I can’t out-nice her.
Do good. Free, unreturned, good. Why? Well just for goodness’ sake! Do good because it feels good! Act with kindness just because it makes the world a better place. Start a wave, a free good revolution. Be infectious. Do it because it makes you look like Jesus. Don’t wait for it to be deserved. Make a free gift of it to those around you.