Summary: Kindness is love, joy, peace, and patience in action.
Introduction: (Overhead 1)
Steve Sjogren’s story of he and the store manager in his book Servant Warfare.
“I have a mind to call the cops.”
“If it makes you feel good – go ahead.”
“Would someone like me, fit in?”
“ Yes, you would!”
He goes on to say, “This woman had probably spent years outside the church critically watching Christians, but never once thought the message of Christ had anything to offer her. Before my eyes, in a matter of minutes, God’s love became real to her for the first time.” (Servant Warfare, page 15)
Sjogren goes on to suggest that the act of kindness is an overlooked and underused way of reaching out to those who are looking for hope and peace.
What does the Bible have to say about kindness? It has a great deal to say. Paul tells the early church in Colossians 3:12 to clothe itself with, among other things, kindness.
(Overhead 2) But there are three stories, two in the Old Testament and one the New Testament that clearly demonstrates kindness.
The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:30-37
1. Notice the progression of the Samaritan’s actions:
a. He saw the man and he felt pity.
b. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them.
c. He got him to a safe place and provide for him until he was strong enough to be on his way without further financial strain.
d. The Samaritan did not leave the wounded man where he was.
e. The Samaritan took responsibility far beyond what would have been expected.
2. The result – a person’s life was saved. Question to consider: Did the act of kindness change the victim’s life in any way?
Ruth and Boaz – Ruth 2
1. Notice how kindness plays out in this story.
a. Ruth, who is a foreigner, goes to work to support herself and her mother-in-law by gleaning left over grain in the fields.
b. The field’s owner, Boaz, notices her and tells his people to let her do her work and not bother her.
c. Ruth thanks Boaz for his kindness as we read in verse 10.
d. Boaz notes Ruth’s kindness in staying by her mother-in-law and even coming to this country to live with her.
e. Boaz allows Ruth to glean freely which allows her to provide for her and Naomi, her mother-in-law
2. The result – Ruth and Naomi were able to survive. Question: In what other ways did Boaz’s kindness change Ruth’s life?
Speaking of David – David demonstrates a great act of kindness that was a politically risky move. We read of it in 2 Samuel 9:1-13.
1. David honors a friendship in showing kindness.
a. David remembers a promise made to Jonathon – a promise of care and support. 1 Samuel 20:42 “At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have made a pact in the Lord’s name. We have entrusted each other and each other’s children into the Lord’s hands forever.”
b. David makes good on this promise as he takes in one of Jonathan’s sons, Mephibosheth.
c. Mephibosheth is crippled. Perhaps that made him an outcast or put him in an environment far from ideal. But that does not matter to David he remembers his commitment to Jonathon to care for any of his children.
d. David brings Mephibosheth into his home and cares for he and his family.
e. Question: How did David’s act of caring change Mephibosheth’s life?
The Bible has much to teach us about being kind and let us know that kindness is expected of God’s followers.
(Overhead 3) What are the lessons learned from these stories of kindness?
1. Kindness puts us at risk
a. For the Samaritan those who attacked the wounded man could have attacked him or the wounded man could have attacked him as well.
b. If he was on a business trip he could have been missing out on some important business. Business necessary to feed his family.
c. For Ruth, Boaz’s kindness could have put her in a risky situation. Sexual harassment is not a new issue.
d. Someone could have complained that they were not getting their fair share of gleaning or Ruth could have taken advantage of Boaz.
e. David could have found himself in a tough spot as Mephibosheth could have rallied the Saul loyalists and tried to overthrow David. His own family could have complained about having to share the palace with a former king’s grandson.
Acts of kindness can put us at risk. But, the Lord expects us to develop kindness in our lives. It is a fruit of the spirit.
2. Kindness makes our faith credible.
a. Boaz and Ruth are a part of Jesus Christ’s human genealogy as written in Matthew 1. What might have happened if kindness had not been expressed either by Boaz or Ruth?