In today’s culture, 21st birthdays are all about big parties, big gifts and legal drinking, right? Wrong—that is, if your name is Alexa Sexton. Alexa was a self-professed “spoiled princess” who came to faith and was baptized shortly after turning twenty. Soon she found that all her priorities were changing. It was no longer all about how others could serve Alexa, but how Alexa could serve others.
As her 21st birthday drew nearer on the horizon, Alexa decided she wanted to celebrate her transition into adulthood in a way that reflected her new heart for service. “I didn’t want to go out partying and not remember becoming an adult. I wanted to impact people by kindness.”
So, to celebrate her adulthood, Alexa spent her 21st birthday performing 21 acts of kindness to both strangers and loved ones alike. First, she had a special gift for her mother. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.”
She then spent the next nine hours blessing folks in her hometown of Bristol, TN:
“One act of kindness that I loved the most was when we went into the ICU at Bristol Regional Hospital to take food to the people in the waiting rooms. One of the people in there was a pastor. I felt like God put him there at just the right time,” Sexton said. “Because after we left the food for the visitors we were going to all of the floors to pray for the patients. We asked the pastor to join us and he was very excited to do so.”
One lady on the Reflections floor, cried and gave Sexton and her friends a hug. She told the group that her husband didn’t know who she was and that having someone pray for them meant the world to her.
“Taking breakfast to the firefighters at the Haynesfield fire department was another one of my favorite places,” Sexton said. “I chose that fire department because it’s by my subdivision, I just wanted to say thank you to them for all they do. It’s so much more rewarding when someone you come in contact with is impacted by your kindness toward them. It’s a much better feeling to give to someone else than it is for me to get what I think I might want,” she said.
It’s a tradition that Alexa plans to continue. But she wants everyone to be clear about the reason for her actions:
“I didn’t turn 21 and just “grow up,” she said. “I gave my life to God and He changed my heart. It was a 360 turnaround because of Him. I firmly believe that I was put on the earth for a purpose and a large part of that purpose is to inspire others to kindness that’s an awesome purpose.”
She said she didn’t want people to think she was doing this to draw attention to herself. Rather she was inspired by a Bible verse: Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
“Every one of the 21 acts was done in his name,” Sexton said. “I always want that glory to go to him.”
Like Alexa, we all get older. But that doesn't mean we all grow up! At least not to a state of maturity like this 21 year old.
Happy birthday, Alexa, this year and every year!
May we all be as “grown-up” as you are.
"This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13, NLT).