Once upon a time there was a woman named Hope. She loved God and was considered a good person by all who knew her. She was short and petite, and she felt she was too small to be used of God. She yearned to spread God’s word to the world, but she felt inadequate and ill-prepared.

One day, as she was getting ready for work, Hope realized she might not be able to reach those in the world, but she could reach those in her world. She could be kind in an unkind world.

As Hope made her way to the car, she nodded towards her elderly neighbor. One hand was clutching his dog’s leash and the other was holding tightly to the cane he was leaving heavily upon. She remembered his name was George and that his dog was an annoyingly nervous dog whose high-pitched barking always set Hope’s teeth on edge.

Remembering her vow to be kind, Hope approached George and began to change her world. “Good morning, George. Your dog is really cute, and he seems quite excited to be outside. What’s his name?” George straightened up and said, “Her name is Edna.” “Edna? That’s a pretty name.” George smiled and said, “I named her after my late wife. I’m sorry if she barks so much, but she knows I can’t see as well as I used to and she barks every time she sees a crack or a twig or something that would make me fall.” Hope smiled back and said, “She’s your canine warning system!” George smiled again. Edna stopped barking. And Hope felt a little taller, somehow.

Two hours later, Hope entered the supply room at work and saw a woman struggling to open a box that was secured with plastic straps. Hope walked over to help and said, “My name is Hope. Are you new here?” The woman said her name was Marie and that she had just moved to town to better care for her elderly father. Today was her first day on the job. Hope smiled and said, “I’d like to get to know you better. Would you like to have lunch with me tomorrow? My treat?”

Hope spent the day smiling at people, thanking those who held the door open for her, speaking pleasantly to everyone from her boss to the young college student who delivered the office mail. She enjoyed herself, and somehow, she felt she was being used by God.

Later that night, Hope finished her day in prayer, thanking God that He had given her so many opportunities to be kind. She thanked God ahead of time for all the times He was going to give Hope to spread more kindness tomorrow.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you,” Ephesians 4:32.

Starting today, let’s start acting more Hope-like. Let’s change our world, one act of kindness at a time.