Unkind people cannot preach the gospel — it would be a sham. Our arms of kindness are the only ones God has to embrace others and the only way for people to know He cares. The fruit of the Spirit is not intended for passive acceptance, locked away for safekeeping. It is meant to invigorate and empower us to be “about our Father‘s work.“ Today, the need for the Holy Spirit’s fruit of kindness to blossom in our lives and nourish our wasting world is undeniable. People are hungry for the hope that they matter to someone — and they do, they matter to God and to us… He cares. And because He does, He lavishes His kindness on those who care about Him and on those who don’t.
Acts 14:16-17 explains, “In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” What a good God! For those who don’t believe that He lives and those who don’t even care if He does, our God still reaches in kindness. And His kindness isn’t dependent on the reciprocation of those He blesses with it, He is kind because that is who He is — a kindhearted God (see Matthew 5:44-46).
We are called and empowered to be the same way through the Holy Spirit. Millions of people will never open the Bible, but Christians are an open book to them, and we can open our lives to Galatians 5:22, allowing His fruit of kindness to blossom, grow, and feed their hungry hearts. Verses like Colossians 3:12 aren’t just flamboyant accessories, as “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” we truly are called to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Kindness can glorify God and give a testimony without a word!
Our Daily Bread
When I was in college, I worked a summer on a ranch in Colorado. One evening, tired and hungry after a long day of mowing hay, I drove the tractor into the yard. Acting like the hot shot I thought I was, I cranked the steering wheel hard left, stamped on the left brake, and spun the tractor around.
The sickle was down and swept the legs out from under a 500-gallon gasoline tank standing nearby. The tank hit the ground with a resounding boom, the seams split, and all the gasoline spewed out.
The rancher stood nearby surveying the scene. I got off the tractor, stammered an apology, and—because it was the first thing that popped into my mind—offered to work the rest of the summer without pay.
The old rancher stared at the wreckage for a moment and turned toward the house. “Let’s go have dinner,” he drawled.
A scrap of a story Jesus told passed through my mind—a story about a young man who had done a terrible thing: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” he cried. He intended to add, “Make me like one of your hired servants,” but before he could get all the words out of his mouth his father interrupted him. In essence, he said, “Let’s go have dinner” (Luke 15:17-24).
Such is God’s amazing grace.
By David H. Roper
REFLECT & PRAY:
What a privilege to be sons and daughters of the King!
Cool Hand Luke
Cool Hand Luke is set in the early 1950’s and tells the story of Lucas “Luke” Jackson (Paul Newman). Luke is arrested and sent to prison for two years to serve on a chain gang run by a very stern prison warden. Luke’s rebellious nature gets him in trouble with the guards and the prison’s leader but eventually Luke becomes a favorite of the other prisoners. When Luke learns of his mother’s
death, he makes plans to escape prison to attend her funeral. He escapes but is captured, returned to the prison and fitted with leg-irons. The captain is determined to make an example of Luke to the other prisoners and in his warning speech utters this classic line in reference to Luke’s rebellion: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
That line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate,” could be applied to a lot of marriages. In fact, at one time or another, it could be applied to almost every marriage. How is the communication in your marriage? In the movie, the line refers to Luke’s choice to not listen to his superiors. In marriage, it means
that we often do not do a good job of listening to our spouse. Experience tells me that when we listen to our spouse well, we understand them better and have less conflict. So today make a special effort to listen well to what your spouse is saying.
Today’s One Thing:
Today make a special effort to listen well to what your spouse is saying!
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