Here’s something that the church should be known for and it seems to me to be more needed in the world than ever. We are constantly told that so many things are in short supply and I know at times, as I reflect now on sabbatical, I’m asking God to increase this attitude and put it into action.
I’m not always as kind as I could be.
Who do you know and when you think of them you’d say ‘that’s a kind person.’ (Let me know in the comments?)
Maybe some people are kinder than others by nature? But I am talking about the supernatural gift the Holy Spirit wants to be more evident in you and me.
That famous passage in Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit— characteristics that are meant to grow inside of us as we live for God and let his life and love change us from the inside out.
LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE…. the Holy Spirit wants to develop these in us so we mature in our lives as Jesus followers.
And number 5 on the list, the fifth characteristic, is kindness.
The Greek word for “kindness” there is chrēstotēs. It’s not a feeling, ‘I feel kind’ – no, it does have links to tenderness and concern in your heart but it’s a verb, an action – the word means “meeting needs in the way that’s needed.”
GOD our Father is a kind God, he’s kind to us.
Titus 3 says it’s because of God’s kindness that Jesus came to save us, he met our biggest need. Whether we knew it was our biggest need or not – to have our sins forgiven, our debt paid, to have hope for heaven.
Romans 2:4 says it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
We’d just carry on living selfishly, hurting others and ourselves. Unless God in his kindness showed us the better way to live that leads to living forever.
JESUS is kind.
Look at the gospels and you see it time and time again, how we stops to meet people’s need, to ask what they want, to serve, help them, heal them, listen to them. He’s kind to us. You’d think he’d go around saying ‘I want you to this and that,’ but he says ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
Look at Mark 10, just an example or two;
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
Go down a few verses.
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, (they don’t think Jesus has time to be kind maybe) but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
There it is again, it’s the kindness question.
In a world where everyone wants someone to do something for me….
want me to do
opens up so many miraculous possibilities!
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
The Holy Spirit is kind.
That’s how He can grow that fruit of kindness inside even the hardest heart once it’s opened to him. It’s HIS fruit! But he loves to share. And this fruit grows as we give it. When we start looking to meet another’s need with kindness, when we ask ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Or even think, ‘Hey, how could I just bless them today? Could I meet a need?’
Now let me ask another question, and ‘happiness’ psychologist Martin Seligman actually did this in research, you have a choice between two activities. Which of them do you think would make you happier?
- Choice 1: Do something you really enjoy.
- Choice 2: Do something really nice for someone else.
We’d probably assume choice 1 would make you more happy. But when they observed people who did these activities they found that yes, both groups got a moment of happiness when they did either something they enjoyed (which you might expect), or were kind to someone else.
But the group that did something nice for someone — reported the happiness they had lasted a lot longer. So kindness is good for you, as well as doing good for someone else.
So what could you do today?
Maybe you only have time for a five-minute favour?
Write a thank you card?
Ring someone who might feel a bit down?
Or if you have some time left over later, how about spending half an hour or a bit longer intentionally being kind? I know some of you do this a lot, but maybe you make a meal for a friend or someone in the church family going through a hard time (or order them a pizza)?
Drop some money anonymously in an envelope someone’s door (the happiest man I ever met did that all the time)
Make a gift basket for someone who has had a tough year.
Sign up to serve the homeless here on the city at Barnabus, or get more involved serving one of the many ministries at Ivy.
What about blocking our a whole day sometime soon
Make a bigger impact on someone’s life or help a cause God puts on your heart that you feel passionate about and commit to spending time serving there.
Use your work skills to offer free services to a charity.
Pick up litter or clean up a local park.
Offer to babysit for a friend who is a single parent and rarely gets a break.
God has been so kind to us. He’s kind to everyone, Jesus says he makes the sun shine on good people and bad people just the same! (Matt 5:45)
So how about we all ask God now, the kindness question – ‘LORD, What do you want me to do, for you?’
JOIN ME AND MANY FRIENDS From round the UK and across the world at LAUNCH 2023 The King and the Kingdom in October and November.