RAK or PAK

Let’s trade our half-hearted attempts at Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) with regular and more biblical Purposeful Acts of Kindness (PAK).

Apparently, I missed two very important days this past November. First, I missed World Kindness Day on November 13, and, a little later, the even more important Random Acts of Kindness Day, November 29.

Wikipedia tells me that Random Acts of Kindness Day (RAK Day) was first created in Denver Colorado in 1995, but it achieved real traction in New Zealand in 2004 and has since spread to many other parts of the world. In order not to miss out on this important day in 2020, I am hereby giving you important advance notice that RAK Day will be celebrated in North America this coming Sunday, February 17. On that day, you are encouraged to engage in random kindness, for no apparent reason at all.

My dictionary defines random as lacking a definite plan, purpose or pattern; made, done, happening or chosen without method or conscious decision. My thesaurus provides synonyms for random such as irregular, sporadic, unintentional, directionless, purposeless. So we have one month to plan our “unpredictable” acts of kindness for February 17. Later in the year, when World Kindness Day rolls around on November 13, we can engage in completely directionless acts of kindness in some sort of universal solidarity of purposelessness. Does this strike you as a sort of craziness? Me too.

. . . With everlasting kindness, I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer (Is. 54:8b NIV).

Daily love in action
Last time I checked, the Scriptures seemed to enjoin us to engage in exactly the opposite of random acts of kindness, which I take to be purposeful acts of kindness (PAK). Other words for purposeful are orderly, thoughtful, regular, systematic and the like. Where the NIV of the Bible uses the word kindness, as in the above quoted verse from Isaiah, the NRSV uses the word love. One could say that kindness is love in action. In I Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul tells us that the most excellent of all the gifts of the spirit is love. God’s unfailing love for us is expressed in sending Jesus to us as the prime example of never-ending and intentional love in action. There was nothing random about Jesus’ love for those with whom he came in contact. It’s clear to me that we, his followers, are similarly required to show our intentional, daily kindness to all those whom God places in our lives.

Here is my proposal: Let’s exchange the occasional day or two in which we pursue Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) with regular (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly) Purposeful Acts of Kindness (PAK) instead. That would be a thoughtful and systematic way to make a meaningful difference in the world. Choose PAK instead of RAK!

  • Robert (Bob) Bruinsma is a retired Professor of Education (The King’s University) living in Edmonton. He has interests in language and literature and loves birds and the outdoors. To help pass the time on long winter nights, he makes wine and beer (and drinks it in moderation) with his wife of 46 years (Louisa). Bob is a member of Fellowship CRC where he tells stories for children and happily participates in weekly communion. He and Louisa have three grown children and three little grandsons.

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