When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Many of those who have participated in this challenge in the past know me personally and know my heart for serving the people of God. I started this as a replacement for my 21st birthday party and presents. I’m a little known within my friends and family to be the bleeding heart and have thought numerous times about giving away everything I own. But the truth is, I don’t love my neighbor well.
Over the last week, I’ve been asking friends what was the first thing they thought of when they heard “Random Act of Kindness.” Most of the responses contained action items (some on this year’s list, even); however, one of my friends responded saying, “doing something for someone else that you wouldn’t normally do.” Now, that may not be the most profound definition in the world, but it was an answer I wasn’t expecting. I purposely left that question open ended because I wanted the unexpected.
That answer drove me to ask what the purpose was of doing this anyway. After some thought, I came back to, “I want to get my friends and family more active in their communities and to care about serving one another. I want to create a community of people spending the beginning of the year caring for one another and lifting each other’s burdens.
It sounds like a good thing, yet, when I brought it to a friend, he said to me, “it sounds like you’re trying to change everyone’s hearts to care about the things you care about, when only God can change hearts and he changes them to look more like him.” Talk about ouch!
So, this year’s challenge will be the same but different. Like years past, you won’t have to complete all of the days, you don’t have to do them in order, and you can extend this out to a longer time period, if you would like. I’m giving you guys the list of the days I will be completing and I hope you will join me. There will still be Bible verses, a song of the day, and an encouragement for every assignment. New additions will be featured charities for you to connect with if one day’s service really resonates with you or to donate to in lieu of participating. Each NGO’s website and Charity Navigator information will be included. The final list will be posted on December 15tb and you will be notified via email if you subscribe. Otherwise, I’ll be posting it on Facebook and Twitter.
This year’s theme will be Love Your Neighbor, so I hope you take that to heart. As you go through the days, feel free to use the tag #Ashleys24Days so I can stay connected and follow along. I’d like to make a photo gallery of people being agents of change with what you post.
Thank you all for joining this adventure and celebrating my 24th birthday. It is a privilege to know each and everyone of you and I hope 2017 brings God’s blessings. Talk to you soon,
your sister in Christ.