2018-08-08 / Religion

‘Acts of Kindness Mean A Lot’

Inspiration

August is a month when I am vividly reminded of how fast the clock of life is racing. This month several of our little girls will have birthdays: Mallory will be fifteen, Madeline will be ten, and Addyson will be eight; Anna Beth and Jaleah officially became teenagers a few weeks ago. Raegan has yet to reach her first birthday, but she is already bringing lots of joy to our hearts.

Over the years those little girls have helped us experience some unforgettable moments in life. One of those took place when Madeline was six years old as I talked to her on the telephone while my wife was out of town. I told her I was lonely since Nana was not at home. Madeline’s response brought a smile to my face when she extended a simple invitation to me, that in her mind, was a solution to my whole dilemma: “Well, just pack your suitcase and come on over here!” I declined her precious offer, but her sincerity was evident and her desire to make sure Papa was well taken care of was obvious. If every adult maintained that heartfelt level of hospitality that Madeline expressed, our world would be a much more pleasant one.

Consider this statement of Christ: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42, New International Version). Giving a cup of cold water sounds like a very simple and basic act, yet when it is done from a pure heart with sincere motives it is an act of kindness that does not go unnoticed by God. Everything that God directs us to do for the cause of Christ is important, no matter how insignificant it might seem at the moment.

As Paul, the writer of 1 Thessalonians, was bringing his letter to a close, he included this bit of instruction: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” (5:15). If we follow our sinful human inclinations when we are done wrong by others, our response is to get even or to come against those opposing us with a stronger wrong than they have brought against us. But, as revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5, that is quite contrary to what Paul describes as the Christian response. Rather than responding to the wrong with another wrong, we are to render Christ-like kindness. Such kindness is not to be limited to just those within the church; we should strive to offer expressions of kindness to all that we come in contact with. Writer Chuck Swindoll correctly states what is experienced when we truly forgive one who has wronged us: “The revengeful desire to get back and get even will wane, and in its now-empty space will come such an outpouring of relief and a new spirit of joy that you won’t feel like the same person.” By so doing, we bring our behavior into line with our belief and position ourselves to offer kindnesses to others that will honor God.

Even though I did not take advantage of Madeline’s offer to come to her house to relieve my loneliness, I did accept her gift of kindness. Why not make it your goal everyday to look for opportunities to extend expressions of kindness to others. Even the smallest ones offered with the love of Christ can mean more than we realize.

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