ODJ: the power of kindness

May 25, 2015 

READ: Romans 12:1-8 

If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly (v.8).

One Saturday last year, my family rode our bikes to a city market. Each weekend the market takes over a car park and presents a diverse group of vendors’ booths. The place overflows with organic produce, baked goods and every imaginable artisan craft creation (jewellery, paintings, woodwork and more).

My son set his eyes on a colossal-sized muffin. Preparing to pay for it, I stood in line behind an elderly woman. Tall but slightly stooped, she wore a faded denim shirt and a flowing blue skirt. Her silver hair touched her shoulders, a beauty undiminished by her age. Attempting to step away from the table, the matron turned towards me. She caught me unaware, and I froze. We met face to face, only 2 or 3 inches separating us. Without any hesitation, she smiled wide and pointed a finger at my goatee. “My, my,” she chuckled—her kind, raspy voice barely more than a whisper. “Isn’t that a cute moustache!” Then she shuffled past me.

That simple human exchange brought me joy for days to follow. It seemed the most natural thing for that precious woman to put her hand to my face, to hold my eyes with hers, to speak a word of delight.

Paul knew the power of such simple humanness, of kindness—energised by the Holy Spirit—extended to those we encounter. “We all belong to each other”, the apostle reminds us (Romans 12:5). We need one another. We were intended for human words, touch and compassion. And this isn’t (primarily) a call for grand, overwhelming gestures and sacrifice. It’s simple kindness, extending hospitality and a warm welcome.

“If you have a gift for showing kindness,” says Paul, “do it gladly” (v.8). May God’s kindness flow through us to others.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Jeremiah 36:1-32

Read Romans 12:9-10. What do you think the difference is between pretending to love others and really loving them? 
What was the impact on you when someone showed you true kindness? When God offered you His kindness? Where (and to who) will you offer kindness today?