"Then Jesus answered and said: 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’"
Luke 10:30-35 (NKJV)
One of the great traits and hallmarks of Jesus is kindness. Kindness is part of the fruit of the Spirit we read about in Galatians 5 and the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4). An act of kindness will be remembered and can open people’s hearts better than miracles can.
Kindness stands out in a fast paced, overly stimulated, impatient world. The best way to be different is through simple, practical kindness. Taking the time for kind actions, however small is like being salt and light to the people around us (Matthew 5:13-16). Don’t leave kindness to the church office: let’s be known as “That Church” where everyone is kind.
Two stories illustrate the example of kindness by Jesus that we should follow. The first is “The Good Samaritan” in Luke 10. Jesus does not define the “certain man” in any way except to say he was travelling alone. During covid there has been much talk of isolation, but this doesn’t mean we have to be alone. Life is supposed to be travelled together, which means maintaining relationships is super important. Kindness is like the glue of relationships – don’t be judgmental to other Christians, be merciful as Jesus tells us to be. “Thieves” target people on their own, as we see in the story when the man is robbed, beaten and left for dead.
The first person to see him is a priest who would have justified not stopping by the possibility the man was dead: touching a dead body would make the priest defiled and unable to do his job. We make all kinds of excuses in our minds for not wanting to get involved in messy situations. Often we find people filming the suffering of others, remaining detached. When we see the pain of others, let’s be “That Church” that doesn’t look away.
The next person to see him is a Levite who was committed to his religious practice and so didn’t stop. Sometimes we can feel that because we support overseas missions we don’t have to get involved in our city. When we see a need, we should feel something. When we feel the promptings of God to have compassion on others, we should ask ourselves how we can be personally involved?
The Samaritan to the listeners in Jesus’ day was a hated person and they wouldn’t have expected him to rescue the suffering man. As well as the Samaritan, consider the amount of trust between him and the innkeeper. He trusted the innkeeper to take care of the man and not rip him off. The innkeeper had to trust that he would come back and pay the bill. Such trust is unheard of in our world, not to mention the Samaritan’s words ‘whatever’ it costs. How many of us could drop someone at the local hospital and offer to pay the bill, whatever it cost?
The C3 movement has expanded to thousands of people around the world because C3 members have committed to underwriting the care, sending and reaching of others. This is just what Vision Builders later this month is all about.
The second story is the letter to Philemon. Philemon was a man in Colossae who had a church in his home. One of his servants stole from him, ran away and ended up in jail with Paul in another city. Paul led him to faith and writes to Philemon as he sends the servant back. Paul asks that Philemon receive the servant as if it were Paul himself and to charge Paul with any costs Philemon feels he is owed: whatever it cost (vs 17-19). Just as Jesus said to treat others as you would treat Him (Matthew 25:45), so is Paul. This is the message of the gospel; that in His great kindness God sent Jesus to take the sins of the world, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Jesus paid the price we owed (the highest cost of all: death) so that we might be treated like Jesus by the Father in Heaven. Kindness must be seen, heard and felt by the world from the Church!
We want to be THAT CHURCH, that Church known for Kindness.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Has an act of kindness impacted you?
- What are some of the simple needs in your world that you can respond to with kindness? (eg. Someone at work who is having a hard time & might like to talk over coffee)
- What can we do in our own hearts to stay open to God’s leading in situations and not look away or be distracted by our phones?
- As a connect group plan how you can do an act of kindness to reach people for Jesus?