Dear Pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Some of you may be aware that the Fellowship declared 2014 as our “Year of Love”, adopting our theme verse from John 13:35 (NLT): “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
To reach out in love is to be kind. In fact, kindness by definition is love in action. The Bible tells us that “love is patient and kind…” (1 Cor. 13:4a). In one of the most powerful stories in the New Testament, we discover how three men chose whether to be kind or not. Luke 10:30-37 is called the story of the Good Samaritan.
Three men become witnesses to a crime scene. The Temple priest (vv. 30-31) avoids the scene. Some of us don’t want to get involved; it’s easy to adopt this attitude.
Second, the Temple assistant (vs. 32) sees the victim but keeps on walking. Don’t we like to stare at traffic accidents, and then keep going to our next appointment? This attitude is aware of the need, but remains apathetic.
The third response (vv.33-34) is different. The Samaritan (ethnically despised by these religious officials) chose to do three things that we must adopt if we’re ever to learn to be kind.
1. Be Sensitive: Kindness with the eyes. If you don’t see the needs, how can you show love? In Luke10:33 we read, “when he SAW the man”. There are wounded people all around us; why don’t we see them? Often because of busyness; hurry kills kindness. To be kind, we must slow down.
My wife, Marilyn, is amazing at this. She observes things I’m clueless about. She’s also a nurse, and a great nurse is able to anticipate pain. Kindness is the ability to anticipate pain, hurt, and brokenness and to do something about it.
How sensitive are you? Not sure? Want to find out? Close your eyes and picture the face of ten people you come in contact with daily. You see them at work, school, or around your neighbourhood. Now, below their faces, write their current #1 struggle in life. How many blanks do you have? Kindness makes you want to know. Be more sensitive.
2. Be Sympathetic: It’s not enough to just see: to be kind is also to feel. Luke 10:33 says, “When he saw the man, he FELT deep pity.” His eyes saw and his heart felt. The Bible tells us to feel and share one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).
If sensitivity begins with the eyes, then sympathy begins with the ears. Sympathy is the art of intently listening. Many times, kindness is just listening. Why do you think chat rooms are so popular?
3. Be Spontaneous: Don’t delay, wait, or procrastinate. Do what you can with what you’ve got. The Samaritan did just that (vs. 34). He “knelt” down and got at the victim’s level and helped with what he had, oil and wine. He used what he had to meet the stranger’s needs. Often we don’t meet one another’s needs because we don’t think we have anything to offer—that’s nonsense. There are people all around us needing our kindness, needing our love in action.
Don’t wait for better conditions before acting. Kindness rarely happens on your schedule, but always on the schedule of others. Exercising love is often very inconvenient; often it has a price tag attached, costing you your time, energy, money or privacy. The Samaritan does all of the above. Why?
Kindness is doing something without expecting something in return. So why should I be kind? The following are several reasons:
1. It makes me like God (Jeremiah 9:24)
2. It brings blessing to my life (Proverbs 14:21)
3. It honours God (Proverbs 14:31)
4. It cheers people up (Proverbs 12:25)
5. It is essential for my spiritual growth (Proverbs 11:17)
Have a blessed week,
Our 2014 Fellowship theme verse is:
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13 :35 (NLT)