It Doesn’t Take Much.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 (NIV)

I spent several minutes re-packaging my daughter’s prom dress, a slinky little thing that had to be returned because it was too small (for a stick). Inside the large envelope, I included the official return card and addressed the outside of the envelope.


Then off I went to the nearest post office, one that’s about the size of a postage stamp. The ordinary office is ripe with yesteryear, undeniably peaceful, and holds the familiar scent of musty government building.

The attendant – drat, in all these years, I still haven’t asked her name – bent to pop her head near the open, raised window at the ledge, took my package, weighed it.

“You know, you really should repackage this.”

To suggest I should re-do anything on a Monday before noon typically doesn’t sit well with me.

But that day, she was God’s chosen instrument. She’d acted on the oft-quoted, but typically ignored, verse:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 (NIV)

The Message version gives a different and refreshing spin on Luke 6:31:

Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them. 

Given the absence of haughtiness in the attendant’s voice, I lent her an ear.

“If you send it in this envelope it’ll cost over $14. But if you slip it into this envelope – ” Reaching to her right, she produced a white Priority Mail envelope. “it’s only a flat rate of $8.”

At the wink of kindness from heaven, relief coursed through me.

And the shipping charges to return the ‘too small for a stick’ prom dress weren’t even coming from my bank account. This fell to my daughter. I’d merely taken it upon myself to return the ‘too small for a stick’ prom dress before the thirty days was up – or the thirty days would pass unaware and she’d be stuck with a ‘too small for a stick’ prom dress. And what good is a prom dress to a stick anyway?

Filling out my check, I expressed gratitude to her for having cared enough to mention the cheaper alternative. The exercise of kindness wasn’t in her job description.

“I just think it’s common courtesy to let people know these things,” she said.

The attendant’s reasoning was as simple as the space within which she worked. And for my daughter, who works minimum wage at a donut shop, the $6 difference in shipping cost was huge.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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So what would it look like if I routinely exercised common courtesy, even sought out opportunities?

The reward of knowing I’d treated another the way I want to be treated – and I never want to be treated poorly – should be reward enough.

We can’t all go over seas. Or give thousands of dollars. Or donate in large quantity. But we can take notice of what’s right in front of us. Even if stooped to peer through the other side of the window, making it a priority to ask someone’s name.

When little is all I have to give, I’m so thankful it doesn’t always take much to achieve great things for God’s glory.

When have you had the opportunity to do a small thing for someone that meant much? Or been the happy recipient of another’s small thing? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

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