Summary: This sermon is the 5th in a series on fruits of the SPirit, namely the Character of a Christian: Kindness and Goodness.
I. illustration: "Scott Currin" (NFI), Nov 02, came to Church with family, and introduced himself and said that he was moving to the community. About two weeks later he called and told of mothers death to DWI in Florida...trying to get back home, to Texas, his car broke down, and he needed $150 for bus fare, Western Union. Though I don’t usually offer money, to this nice young man and his family, my heart wemnt out. I wired the money and for almost a year, did not hear a word.
On Thursday 8-29-03 my phone rang, same guy, same story, same request for money.... (I have since learned he did this to other people and other churches. He even called again in late ’05 or early ’06).
But did I show Kindness? You might be thinking gulable (don’t say it)! But I never thought someone would come into the Church and perpetrate a scheme.
If the Chracter of a Christian is to be Kindness and Goodness, what does that mean? Would you describe the world we live in as kind? Watch a hockey match, some other sporting event. Wasn’t it just a few short months a ago that parents of one team started kicking and beating the father of a boy who made a late hit in a football game? We all rememeber that Tanya Harding introduced violence even into the world of figure skating. And what about goodness? I’m afraid that people just don’t seem to be very committed to the idea of goodness anymore. Watch a few reality television shows. It won’t take long for you to see a lack of goodness. One, this past week, which features family members of a Manhatten family in a Mansion competing for a million dollars. One character was to give money to a family member, who if they had the most money, who chose who was to go up for elimination. The woman asked him, "Why? Why should I give to you?" He smiled and said "Because I’m your friend". She gave him her suitcase of money, and when he had the most, he named her for elimination. Some friend!
(1) I heard a story about a woman who was standing at a bus stop. She had just cashed her tax refund check, so she was carrying more money than usual & was a little bit nervous about that. She glanced around & noticed a shabbily dressed man standing nearby. And as she watched, she saw a man walk up to him, hand him some money, & whisper something in his ear.
She was so touched by that act of kindness that she decided to do the same. In a burst of generosity, she reached into her purse, took out $10, handed it to the man, & whispered to him, "Never despair, never despair."
The next day when she came to the bus stop, there he was again. But this time he walked up to her & handed her $110. Dumbfounded, she asked, "What’s this?" He said, "You won, lady. Never Despair paid 10 to 1."
Kindness and Goodness may not always pay 10 to 1; but rather it will likely cost you something; your time; your energy; your investment. When I first thought of combining these two traits together, I was thinking in my mind, that kindness might be that affection that we show others, while goodness would represent that inner moral character of who you are. That Kindness is a state of action, the act of being kind, and goodness is the state of being good. But looking at the Greek understanding, I have found that these two words must be combined together, and they are more interwoven than I might have thought. In fact sometimes the same Greek word is used, and it is only the translator that has chosen to ascribe either the English word Kindness or Goodness depending on what else the passage might be saying.