The Gift Of Kindness
Read: Psalm 19:1-6; Matthew 5:43-45; Acts 14:16-17; Acts 17:26-27
What can bring more refreshment into a weary day than a true story that showcases simple kindness? It is truly comfort food for the soul, and it was my joy to hear of this type of occurrence this week.
It happened on Valentine's Day in Olathe, Kansas at the Summit Trail Middle School. That is where eighth grader Tristin Valentine, along with two friends handed out pink carnations to 270 girls as well as 70 staff members. They planned it out ahead of time, having received permission from principal, Sarah Guerrero. The three young men stood by the doors to ensure that no young lady would be left out. Notes of good wishes came along with each carnation. One young lady told principal Guerrero that she hated Valentine's Day in her other school because nobody made her feel special. In contrast to that, this year she wore a carnation in her hair. One thing I love about this story is that the flowers were given to every girl and staff member, and that kind of lavish giving reminds me of the way God pours out His every-day blessings. No doubt, some of the girls who received the carnations were prettier, more intelligent, kinder or even more friendly than some of the other recipients. Yet, each one received the flower and affirmation.
What a tiny glimpse this is into the heart of God. He is the One Who gives His gifts of sunshine and rain to each person, whether he acknowledges the Creator or not, Matthew 5:43-45. The beauty and glory of the heavenly bodies is visible to the one who mocks Him as well as the one who stands in awe each time she sees the stars, Psalm 19:1-6. In Acts 14, as well as Acts 17, we observe Paul as he tells two different groups of people about the Living God. It is here that we are reminded that the Savior's good gifts of food and even life, along with His creation are signposts. Each gift is meant to point every person toward Almighty God, the Creator, Redeemer and the One Who will ultimately judge all mankind. God displays His handiwork and gives His good gifts, James 1:17, so people will come to know Him and will desire the Giver even above the gifts.
What a God of kindness. He has told us that it is not His desire that any perish. Sadly, many will, Revelation 20:11-15. Yet so that more will be saved, He is showing us His ultimate kindness by waiting before He brings judgment to the earth, 2 Peter 3:1-9. Sometimes, in times of weariness, we may wonder why those who vehemently oppose the Lord continue to enjoy so many blessings? Of course, we can't know all that God is doing, but we know what He has revealed, Deuteronomy 29:29. He has told us that it is God's kindness in its various manifestations, that brings man to repentance, Romans 2:4.
No wonder kindness is mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 in the listing of the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of God's children. Since we live enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit Galatians 2:20, the kindness that we display is a glimpse of the Savior's heart to a watching world. Sadly, that also means that unkind words and actions or even indifference when the Lord nudges us to do otherwise, doesn't show people a picture of the Savior we love.
How thankful I am, that when I fail to allow God's kindness to be displayed in my life, I can ask Him for the grace to do differently next time. Thankfully, fruitfulness grows, as I allow the Lord to help me each day. After all, we know that since God has commanded that we be kind and tender-hearted Ephesians 4:32, He will also continue to give us what we need to obey Him.
Who can say? Perhaps, showing Spirit-led kindness this week might mean as much to someone as it did to the young girl in Olathe, Kansas. Perhaps the Lord will use our kindness to open a door to tell someone about the One Whose kindness has made us whole and holy.