“From the Hart” Devotional for Feb. 15, 2024

“Your Number is Up”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.
Hebrews 13:16

I moved to Las Vegas in 1987, and I can remember being downtown in the early 90s to get my Sheriff’s Card when things were not quite as automated as they are today. I took a number when I arrived and waited for hours and hours. I waited so long that I realized I had to leave before being served because I had to go to work. I can remember looking around the crowded waiting room for the most miserable looking person I could find. My eyes landed on a mom who had several kids in tow. She hadn’t been there for a very long time, but she was struggling. Her kids were hungry, tired, and cranky; and she was frazzled. I walked up to her and told her “Ma’am, your number is almost up.” She looked at her number and looked at me confused and said that her number was a long way from being up. I handed her my number and told her again that her number was almost up. You would have thought I had handed her a thousand dollars! As disappointed as I was that I wasn’t able to get my business taken care of that day, I left feeling pretty good that I was able to make someone else’s day a little easier.

So, when I went back later that week, do you know what I did? I picked TWO numbers as I walked in the door. And as my number was getting close to being called, I walked up to an older gentleman standing in the corner holding onto a cane and said, “excuse me, sir, but your number is up.” I handed him the first number that I had taken when I arrived hours earlier. Once again, the look on his face was priceless. Every chance I got after that, I picked two numbers wherever I went.

What about you? When have you been surprised by the kinds of a stranger? Better yet, when have you surprised a stranger? An act of kindness does not always have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes it’s as easy as pulling an extra number and looking for someone who looks like they could use a break.

God is forever surprising us by telling us that our number is up, that it’s our turn to receive an unexpected blessing or an unearned favor. And it is most pleasing to God when we do the same.

A favorite and familiar Aesop’s quote is “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” February 17th is Random Act of Kindness Day. I invite you to spend that day doing random acts of kindness.

Here are some ideas to consider:
• Take flowers to the receptionist when you go for your doctor appointment.
• Leave warm cinnamon rolls at your neighbor’s door in the morning.
• Let someone go in front of you in line at the grocery store.
• Leave a treat in the mailbox for your mail carrier.
• Write a YELP review for a local business.
• Ask to see the manager when you get great service and tell them how great their employee is.
• Leave an extra-large tip for your server when you go out to lunch with an encouraging note.
• Say hi to a stranger.
• Put a note of encouragement in someone’s coat pocket.
• Offer to babysit for a friend for an hour or two and bring her a Starbucks gift or a good book so she can relax.

Start your day in prayer that day and ask God to show you who is in need of an act of grace and kindness. Who knows? You may even want to start the next day that way. And the day after that.

Gracious and loving Lord,
Thank you for the many unexpected ways that you show love to me.
Help me to look for ways to show that same love to others this day.
Let my eyes be open to seeing the one who is struggling.
Let my ears be open to hearing the one who is hoping.
Let my heart be open to hurting.
Let my hands be open to the one who is needing.
Let my mouth be ready to tell a stranger “Hey friend, your number is up!”