A Different Kind of Kindness {A Lesson from Southern Hospitality}

We eagerly arrived at the little café the sweet Southern lady had recommended to us the night before.

“They really have the best breakfast in town,” she had said in her friendly Southern drawl, “plus, I doubt that ya’ll really want to have this hotel breakfast again.”

She was absolutely right on both counts. I certainly would enjoy a proper breakfast for once—as opposed to having the non-sugar-coated, wheat-laden option available: bananas, apples and coffee. And this place definitely had a delicious breakfast. I ordered my eggs and bacon with a side of plain grits, thankful to the lovely lady for her recommendation. To be pointed towards this breakfast haven was truly a kindness that I was most grateful for.

However my husband and I were most pleasantly surprised to find that her kindness did not stop there.

The waitress brought back our coffee, and casually said, “Oh, and a lady called and told me not to let ya’ll pay for any thang—she’s goin’ to drop by later and pay for every thang. She said you had a really strong accent and I wouldn’t be able to miss ya’ll. She saw ya’ll at the traffic lights comin’ here.”

It took me a few minutes to really understand the impact of what this lady had done for us:

  1. She had only met us once.
  2. I thought it was kindness enough that she recommended the place to us.
  3. She was likely never going to see us again.
  4. She was not even there to see us enjoy our meal that she had purchased.
  5. We would not even get a chance to say thank you.

“It really is a different kind of kindness!” I exclaimed, “I mean, really—who shows that kind of hospitality? She won’t even see us enjoying what she has given to us!”

“It’s Biblical kindness,” my husband replied, “Christians should show that kind of hospitality—giving without expecting praise or anything in return.”

And you know what, he was so right. It is the kind of kindness that God shows towards us, and that we should in turn show to others.

 “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:33-35, ESV).

“[God] has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever” (2 Corinthians 9:9, ESV).

Too often I am guilty of wanting the praise for what I do for others. I am one of those “words of praise” people (read The Five Love Languages if you don’t understand what I am talking about. It’s worth your time!), and I must admit that I love to hear praise from people and see the delight on their faces when they receive what I give.

Too often I have been guilty of loving to give, but loving to give to get some love in return.

Giving to an anonymous collection pool? Hmm, not so attractive. Buying a present for myself that supports a missionary family? Better. Sending money in a pretty card with my name on it? Well, that is more like it.

However, in contrast to my praise-seeking ways, this beautiful Southern lady through her generosity taught me a lesson that I will never forget. I am going to work on being the kind of person that does not need praise for what I am giving—a woman who is happy for the glory to go to God through the church as a collective rather than herself (Ephesians 3:21)—a woman who is happy to have her reward come from God.

“But when you give […] do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3, 4; ESV).

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35; ESV).

Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard of love. Let’s show some Christian  hospitality.

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(Linked to Make a Difference MondaysTitus 2uesdays; Thought Provoking Thursday; Hearts for Home; Counting My Blessings Link Up; Saturday Soiree)

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26 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Kindness {A Lesson from Southern Hospitality}

  1. I love this post! Truly, everything about it, from how the waitress spoke about how your accents were thick when I quite clearly would have said the same about hers, to the fact that I too many times have to talk myself out of expecting some sort of recognition. Very well written!

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  2. A fellow words person and people- pleaser here- great post! I love this picture of kindness- from an acts of service or a gifts person, I suspect? The challenge to us to give without sounding trumpets about it… a great thing to think about! God, teach me this sneaky kindness! 🙂

    Emily
    http://www.weakandloved.com

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  3. Such kindness you were blessed. Sounds like this is her MO (modus operandi) for even the waitress knew and trusted her.

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  4. How beautiful! It reminds me of the women in the Bible who are remembered for their actions, even if their names are long forgotten or never known. Christian kindness should be extravagant! What a lovely post. Thank you for this.

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  5. As a fellow people-lover and people-pleaser at heart, I know that I truly needed to read this post! I too am guilty of being more motivated to give when I get to enjoy watching the outcome of my giving. How inspirational that woman is who set a tremendous example of Biblical giving, as your husband correctly called it! Thank you for motivating me to also work on being the kind of person that does not need praise for what I am giving – how wonderful we can come alongside each other to encourage each other in that!! xo

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  6. Great story and lesson! It is much easier to give when you know it will be noticed or you’ll be able to see the results. I’m sure this experience will come to mind the next time I’m faced with such an opportunity! 🙂

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  7. I love this Chantelle! I love when kindness overflows from one heart to another. You blessed us all with this wonderful account. Thanks for linking it at CMB! Enjoy a wonderful weekend.

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  8. Great post and I loved how you brought such a meaty truth on Christian love and kindness from the way you were treated. I live in the Deep South and see this kind of real kindness every day in our little community. Believe me I see the other side too, but true kindness from the spirit of God flowing in your heart is the best kind. Thank you for this post!

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  9. A beautiful story. She obviously had done this before as the waitress sounded OK with it. Imagine the blessings we all could spread if we all had this same attitude of blessing others expecting nothing in return! So glad to have stopped here today from Faith Along the Way! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. I think her attitude and kindness is contagious and oh so, inspiring! This has made me evaluate my own motives and f I am honest, sometimes they are not as pure as I would hope. I love hearing your words of wisdom and thank you for linking to the Saturday Soiree Blog Party!

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