During a recent Boy Scout awards ceremony I attended, a number of the scouts were given Good Turn coins, a special award given to the boys who have demonstrated the heart of scouting—specifically a heart to help others. The Good Turn coin has the Scout motto and values engraved on it, and in the middle is a small section that spins with the words on it, “A Good Turn.” The coin is intended to be a reminder to do a good turn daily.
What is a good turn? It is a voluntary act of kindness, an act of helping someone else in need, a charitable act and the giving of one’s self for the sake of others. It is to be done purely for the sake of helping others and not for personal recognition, payment, or any kind of reciprocity. In fact, doing a good turn is not something that many scouts will necessarily even talk about since the joy of serving others is often the best reward.
The scout that is diligent about his household chores or school work is not doing a good turn. These tasks are not good turns because they are what expected of him as part of his regular routines of life. A good turn only happens when a person goes above and beyond to help others in need, as simple as that need can be. Selfishness lives in all of us, and seeking to do a good turn daily helps scouts develop the mindset of service towards others.
One aspect of a good turn that I love is the fact that it was spoken of by Jesus two thousand years ago when he said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we truly love others as we love ourselves then we will do a good turn for them, just as we wish others would do one for us when we need their help. Every Christian is called an ambassador for Christ. How powerful it would be if every follower of Christ would take seriously to heart doing a good turn for others daily. Then we would truly be great ambassadors for him, the kind that get the attention of others because of our unmistakable acts of love and kindness.
Consider starting today to develop the personal habit of doing a good turn. It’s how Jesus lived and how we should too.