Years ago, during a Summer break from college, I worked doing door-to-door sales in Southern Louisiana in the area between Ponchatoula and Baton Rouge. It was the first time I had been a long way from home for an extended period, and I didn’t know anyone there, but I was still excited for the opportunities that were in store. I think it was my first or second week there and I ran into a young Christian couple who lived out in the country and showed me, a stranger from Iowa, great kindness by asking me to stay for dinner and I recall them saying, “If you ever want a break, just stop back by.” Well, maybe they were just being nice, but I took them up on that and some weeks later when I was having a particularly rough day, I’m not even sure I called, but I did stop back and visited them again, maybe just for a word of encouragement. Another Christian family, the Leonards, who were very kind also offered to help if I needed, let me use their old truck to pick up a shipment of books I had ordered. An old Italian couple invited me to join them for the largest lunch I’ve ever had when I knocked at their door just before they were going to sit down to eat one Saturday. Still another family invited me in and prayed for me at their kitchen table, in a way that was more profound than I had ever known before. Again, none of these people may have bought anything I was selling, but they gave me more than what I needed, whether I realized it at the time or not. As a young born-again believer, my faith was strengthened more by the interactions of these people than was by attending any church service that year. What has been the greatest kindness any stranger has shown to you? Have you done the same in return?
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
I heard a story this past week about a study that was done on how people tipped the driver after an Uber ride, and they found that there was no direct relation between the quality of the ride and the amount they tipped. It was on more random things, such as the time of day and the gender of the driver. I suppose I am more kind and generous at some times than others as well. Who do you generally tend to be more compassionate toward throughout your day? Is it someone new in their job that you meet for the first time, or someone you see daily and have worked with for years? Who are you most short tempered and critical toward? If you are like me, I am probably more demanding of those who are closest to me, including my family. Even though there are children, who are still learning things, I tend to have higher expectations after I’ve said the same thing to someone fifty eight times and they still don’t seem to listen. Also, does getting upset at the driver ahead of me in traffic really help me or anyone else? Maybe I am the one who needs to grow?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Maybe we can all look to the example of Christ as a reminder on how to live a life of kindness and forgiveness while speaking the truth in love toward others, even those closest to us. Even among his disciples, there were some who acted impulsively and like children who did not often understand what he was saying. He daily displayed kindness and compassion toward strangers who wanted something from him and would never see him again. May we also see the example of his followers who display to us how to act toward any random stranger and toward our fellow brothers and sisters as well. May you grow in love and kindness as you practice this on a daily basis.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Yours in Christ,