Thursday Thankful Moments
A Devotional Series
While on a missions trip to Guatemala years ago, a lady in the market approached me and tried to sell me some scarves or tablecloths or something, and she said in English, “For your friend . . . for your enemy?” She smirked, knowing full well what she said, though her native tongue was Spanish.
Her words have stuck with me for the past ten or so years. Partly because it was funny, partly because of Jesus’ words here:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?
Matthew 5:43-46 NET
You know what’s amazing about kindness? You don’t have to be a millionaire to be kind, you don’t have to have a fancy house to be kind, you don’t have to have your hair and makeup done to be kind, you don’t even need a lot of time or energy to be kind.
Even when saying no you can be kind.
Even if you don’t share the same beliefs as your neighbor, you can be kind.
Even when life is hard, even when things aren’t going just the way we want or expected them to. Even when we are treated unjustly. We can still be kind. Not just because we reap what we sow (see 2 Corinthians 9:6), but because, we as believers, love God and we desire to love what and who He loves. And He loves people. He loves your neighbor, friends. And He loves mine.
Yes, give to the poor. Yes, give of your time and energy. But if you don’t do it with love, then what good is it? If it’s done out of obligation or duty, with an attitude or without kindness, then what?
If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 NET
Sometimes kindness doesn’t come easy or naturally. Sometimes our carnal nature wants to butt in. Kindness should be one of the things that sets us a part from the world—it is a fruit of the Spirit, after all (see Galatians 5).
We can’t pick and choose which of the fruit of the Spirit to walk in (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), but we can’t do it on our own either. My body won’t be hydrated without water, it won’t be nourished without a healthy diet. And if I’m dehydrated and malnourished I’ll be sluggish, hangry and likely unproductive.
If we want to walk in kindness, we have to go to the Source. There is no one more kind than God, who sent His Son to die for us while we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8).
The more time we spend in His Word, in prayer, in worship, the easier this loving our neighbor thing will be.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 NET
I’m not an expert, but I think one of the best ways to thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross is to love others as He has loved us.
A Moment of Worship
1 John 4:18-20, 1 Corinthians 13