Day 139: May 19, 2023

The Ministry of Kindness

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.—Ephesians 4:32, ESV

For Insight

The Greek word for kindness is the spelled “crestos.” The Greek word for Christ is spelled “Cristos.” Only one letter distinguishes the two words. In the beginning of Christianity, the Roman Empire confused the two and thought Christians were people who were part of crestos: practicing the kind faith. What a thing or movement to be associated with in any age!  

One of my childhood Sunday school teachers died recently. When we got the news of her death both my husband and I said the same thing, “She was so kind.” Our memories of Mrs. White are all delightful. She was soft spoken. Giving. Loving kind and nurturing. She was one of the most consistent, kind people I have ever known. I can remember wanting to be like her as I was growing up. I admired her for her kind ways and thought she was one of the most beautiful women I knew. I was able to see her a few years ago and though she was physically frail, and in a wheelchair, her beauty and kindness still radiated.

You don’t have to be rich, physically well, affluent, important, have a lot of degrees, live in the best neighborhood, or drive the most prestigious car to be kind. Kindness is free and can be given freely. You cannot fake kindness; you are either kind or you’re not. Kindness comes from the heart.   

Jesus was a kind person. In the Gospels he describes what kindness looks like. He says, “I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25: 35-36) His point is that it doesn’t take a lot to be kind and opportunities for kindness are all around us. We don’t even have to go out of our way to be kind. The ministry of kindness can be a goal of every believer, every Christian organization and church.

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus wasn’t anything special to look at, he had nothing majestic about him, no beauty that we should be attracted to him (Isa. 53:2). What was it about Jesus that drew people to him? It was his kindness! Jesus had a kind spirit and heart. There was nothing mean or harsh about him. Jesus’ kindness was not a penlight but more like the light that shines from the lighthouse guiding ships safely to the shore.  

We are recipients of God’s kindness. Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we abide in Jesus and Jesus in us, we will be filled with his nature and his kindness will become our way of living also. The prophet Micah reminds us that God doesn’t require much of us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Its apparent kindness is going to be an area raised before us on Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46).

Believers in the early Church were careful to practice acts of kindness toward others. It was important to them to show the same kindness Christ showed when he was on earth. There is not much kindness in the world these days. At least if there is we don’t see it on display much. It’s not easy to be kind to others. It’s never been easy to be kind in a world steeped with and controlled by disrespect, meanness, hatefulness, nasty attitudes, discrimination, oppression, arrogance, controlled by hostility and blatant disregard for human life. But these days it seems as though the darkness is closing in on us even more, threatening to swallow us up but we must refuse to let the darkness win and put our kindness on display more even in trying circumstances. Especially in trying circumstances! God will give us strength to do it.   

Father, you don’t ask or require much of us, and it takes so little to be kind. Help us become the kind people you desire; those who reflect your nature and heart in an unkind and dark world.  

Ask Yourself:

On a scale of 1-10 how do I do in the area of kindness? Would Jesus be proud of me? Is God pleased with my degree of kindness I am showing others?  

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