Usain Bolt is a Jamaican Olympian who has won gold medals.
How do you change the world in 3.2 seconds?
You do something kind that is unnecessary and unexpected.
Which is exactly what Usain Bolt did.
Before one of his races, he walked to the start line. He was on the verge of something he’d been preparing for his entire life. In a matter of seconds, a gun would sound that launched him and every one of his competitors around the track in a mad dash toward gold.
What did he do?
He turned around and fist bumped the lane official.
A guy most racers thought was invisible.
A guy most television cameras completely skipped over.
A guy that is so far into the background of the moment that he’s not even an “extra” in the scene.
Usain turned and did something unnecessary and unexpected. He didn’t need to do that. No one would have criticized him for ignoring the race official. That sort of gesture was not necessary or expected, but he made it anyway.
What was the result?
Pure, unabashed, unashamed joy.
This is precious. Look at the reaction of the lane official. He is about to explode with excitement because one of his heroes, one of the fastest men on the planet, took the time to simply acknowledge him. The simplest gesture of kindness brought that fantastic smile.
It is so easy to forget our calling of kindness. When we wander about, focused on work and school and stress, it's really not difficult at all to completely zone out and forget to acknowledge the people struggling alongside us. The purpose of our lives on this earth is not to make it through life on this earth. It's to love God and to love people, even when it means sacrificing our own comfort.
Kindness is so very important.
Colossians 3:12 says, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
We are called to consistently strive to love people, not ignore them, not brush them off, not snap at them when things don't go our way. Will we mess this up? Of course. We're broken, so very broken, and thankfully God's grace is so much bigger than our imperfections. However, we must try, asking the Lord to shine through us even on our worst of days.
We are called to love.
Say thank you and mean it. Tip your waitress, even if she messes up your order. Smile at people walking by. Sacrifice time, energy, money, comfort, if that's what needs to happen in order to spread kindness and make somebody else feel loved.
One of my favorite verses of all times (it's referenced in my header), is Matthew 5:14, which says, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." When people look at you, they should not only see you. They should see Christ. They should see light. They should see love.
Matthew 5:14 is my life verse in a lot of ways, not because I fulfill it so strikingly, but rather because I am so far from what it describes. It is what I daily plead with the Lord to grow me to be. I yearn so much to be a light for Christ, a trail of stardust leading to the sun that He is, the sand that is a simple and lovely reminder that there is a beautiful ocean within reach. And I am learning.
Whether it's a fist bump, a cup of coffee, or the friendliest smile you could possibly hope to muster on a rough day, take the time to make someone remember that Someone loves them.
The same God who made thunderstorms and nebulas and flowers and mountains made each person on this planet in His own image and desires to adopt us as His own children. This is something people deserve to know.