The sun is starting to shine more and more, so how about a little iced coffee for your soul this week? Nothing refreshes the soul quite like kindness. It’s just like a sip of ice coffee on a hot day. It hits that spot in our hearts just right. This week we’re going to be studying stories in the Bible about kindness. Who showed it? How did they show it? What were the circumstances so that we can learn? As I began exploring the idea of kindness today, I discovered something that I can’t stop thinking about. Let me tell you about it.
You’ve heard of Chicken Soup for the Soul? Well, things are starting to heat up outside. The sun is starting to shine more and more, so how about a little iced coffee for your soul this week? Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica, and nothing refreshes the soul quite like kindness. Isn’t it wonderful when you read a story maybe on social media about somebody who’s extended kindness, or when you’re on the receiving end of it? It’s just like a sip of ice coffee on a hot day. It hits that spot in our hearts just right. This week we’re going to be studying stories in the Bible about kindness. Who showed it? How did they show it? What were the circumstances so that we can learn? And as I began exploring the idea of kindness today, I discovered something that I can’t stop thinking about. In First Corinthians chapter 13 verse four, Paul writes,
Love is patient and kind.
Then in John’s first letter, John, one of Jesus’s closest disciples in chapter four, verse eight, he writes,
God is love.
Are you seeing what I’m seeing here? If love is patient and kind, and God is love, then it means when you and I show kindness, when we show love, we’re being just like Jesus. Now, I know it sounds a little daunting, right? Especially when it comes to the sandpaper people in your life, and in my life. We talked about that last week. That’s a work in progress. I know, but I have good news. Paul writes in Galatians chapter five, beginning in verse 22,
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
So, the good news is the Holy Spirit is producing this kind of fruit in our lives. Just like the fruit in a garden has to yield to the gardener’s hand, that’s something you and I must do as well. So often when God prunes us, it’s him working to produce good fruit in our lives. So, hold on to that piece of good news. You don’t have to be kind and loving on your own. The Holy Spirit is our helper, and I’m so thankful for him. Well, I want to share one of the most beautiful stories about kindness in the Bible with you. It’s the story of the Good Samaritan, and I have to be honest with you, I think ever since I heard this story, I’ve always sort of looked down on a couple of people in this story and I thought, I would never do that. And so, at the end of this story that Jesus is going to tell us so beautifully, I’m going to share about what happened to me at the grocery store recently. But first join me in Luke chapter 10, beginning in verse 25.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” 27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” 29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant[b] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along,
Note here, the Jews and the Samaritans did not get along.
…and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ 36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. 37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
The two people that I’ve always looked down on in that story, I’m not proud to tell you that, are the temple assistant and the priest. I would think to myself, they knew the Lord. How could they not stop and help this man who was hurt, wounded on the side of the road? I went to the grocery store just a couple of weeks ago and I saw a man down the pasta aisle, and the truth is, I smelled him before I saw him. I have never smelled a worse odor in my life. I was almost gasping for air. It was so bad. The man was sitting in a wheelchair, and as I was scooting down the aisle, I heard a woman from behind me say, sir, do you need help? And I heard the man in the wheelchair say, yes, I do. I need something off the top shelf. And the woman handed the man what he needed, and I walked down the next aisle just feeling like I could have extended kindness. When I got in the car, I thought of the story of the Good Samaritan I had walked on by. I was horrified by the odor of that man, and it blinded me from seeing the need right in front of my face. I’m glad there was somebody there who was tapped by the Lord to show kindness, but that moment opened my eyes. I realized I am just like the temple assistant and the priest. I’m rushing through life and I don’t want to deal with anything uncomfortable or awkward. I want to be like the Samaritan man, who stopped and spent his resources and his time to help someone in my path who’s in need. Don’t you want to be like that too? Can you imagine how the man felt after receiving such kindness and care and hospitality? Kindness is rooted in compassion. The Samaritan man was compassionate toward the man, wounded and in need. Oh Lord Jesus. Make us compassionate and kind, and open our eyes to those who are in need of our help today. In Jesus’ name, amen. All right, until next time, aren’t you grateful for His grace? You are loved.
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