One of the preeminent goals of the Christian life is to exhibit the fruit of the spirit. One such fruit which seems awfully short in supply these days is kindness. Kindness…..think of it just for a moment. Titus 3:4 informs us kindness is one of the attributes displayed by our heavenly Father: “The kindness and the love of God our Savior appeared”. But even among believers there does seem to be a shortfall of this virtue in our churches.
It reminds me of the little girl who once prayed, "Dear God make all the bad people good and make the good people nice”. I say "amen" to that!
Have you ever asked yourself “Am I a kind person?” Someone recently commented to me of one of our members "No one is that nice all the time." I replied, "Yes, she is!" Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that testimony were true of all of us?
The story is told of a travelling businessman who was out of town and had stopped at a restaurant. The waitress came to take his order. "I'll have the chicken casserole and a kind word." Minutes later she returned and set his meal at the table before him, but without speaking a word. The man asked, “Where is the kind word?" She sighed and whispered, “Don't eat the chicken casserole."
My pastor in Indiana, where I was studying for the ministry, closed his radio program with the words, “Be nice to everybody ‘cause everybody is having a rough time." How true! I don't care who you are, we all need to hear a kind word once in a while!
Jackie Robinson, the Hall of Famer who broke the color barrier in Major League baseball, said he would never have made it in the majors if it hadn't been for Pee Wee Reese, who told him, “I’m behind you all the way!" Certainly kind words that were an encouragement to Robinson.
The Apostle Paul, in his famous listing of the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13, includes this: Love is kind! The Lord is kind to us; we in turn are to be kind to others! I want to be a kind and gentle person! I want to be a blessing to others, not a burden. That's my goal, and I truly believe it should be the goal of all Christians.
I am blessed as a pastor in that, collectively, this is one of the kindest congregations I have ever met. Thank you for being so kind to me. I'm going to do my best to reciprocate!
See you Sunday