A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way—Life Application for February 26, 2017

February 19, 2017 No Comments »
A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way—Life Application for February 26, 2017

By David Faust

The lyrics of a song popularized by Glen Campbell, “Try a Little Kindness,” have been replaying in my mind lately because I believe we face a kindness gap in America today. Even common courtesy seems in rare supply.

We Imitate God

When I was a boy, an old man named Roy used to stop in and chat with my parents. Sometimes he would bring vegetables from his garden or some candy for my brothers and me. Years later I don’t even remember his last name, but here’s what I remember about Roy: He was kind.

Do you recall the time a caring teacher took you under her wing when you were struggling in school? or a kindhearted nurse made your hospital stay more bearable? or a sympathetic friend supported you through a season of depression?

In the Bible kindness appears right in the middle of the nine virtues known as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). When we bear this fruit, we imitate God who shows kindness even “to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35).

We Make a Difference

Kindness is practical. More than a mere feeling of concern, kindness is love wearing work boots. Jesus felt compassion for the crowds, but then he took action to help them. He taught and healed the discouraged and helpless who needed someone to shepherd them (Matthew 9:35-38).

Kindness is inconvenient. You can’t always schedule or control when you will get to practice it. (Just ask the Good Samaritan.) Jesus saw interruptions as ministry opportunities. The Bible says “as Jesus was on his way” (Luke 8:42) he encountered a man whose 12-year-old daughter was dying and a woman who had suffered from a debilitating health problem for 12 years. Ministry opportunities arise while we’re “on our way” to do other things.

Kindness expresses itself in one-on-one situations. You can feel compassion for a multitude, but kind deeds usually happen with individuals. Amid the press of the crowd, Jesus noticed the touch of one desperate woman who grabbed the hem of his garment. My advice? Don’t let “everyone” get in the way of “someone.” You can’t help everyone with their problems, but you can help someone. You can’t feed all of the world’s starving children, but you can feed one. You can’t personally share your faith with every nation, but you can bring someone in your circle of influence closer to Christ. You can’t care for all of the sick and shut-ins, but you can visit someone.

Kindness usually involves small deeds, not dramatic ones. It might mean you mow a neighbor’s lawn, write a thank you note, let a stranger move ahead of you in a checkout line, or watch a single mom’s kids for an evening.

Kindness doesn’t demand rewards. Jesus stressed that we should show kindness and hospitality to those who cannot pay us back (Luke 6:32-36, 14:7-14).

Kindness helps us fulfill the Great Commission. It’s a language most people understand—an effective missionary strategy in every culture. It breaks down barriers and opens hearts to the gospel when a church family does “good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). Kind deeds are a magnet God uses to draw others closer to him.

Do you want to make a difference in a world starving for love? Try a little kindness.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Feb. 13

M.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Christ, the Wisdom of God

Feb. 14

T.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

The Lord Is God Alone

Feb. 15

W.

Leviticus 19:13-18

You Shall Love Your Neighbor

Feb. 16

T.

Romans 7:15-24

Rescued from Death

Feb. 17

F.

1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 6-9

Keep Focused and Pure

Feb. 18

S.

Galatians 5:22-26

Produce the Fruit of the Spirit

Feb. 19

S.

Galatians 5:1-17

Choose to Love and Serve One Another

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