Yesterday I was 30 minutes late to my folks house because I stopped at a grocery store to buy food for a homeless man that was standing at the freeway off-ramp with a sign that read:
“Hungry. Please Help. Psalm 41.”
How can I ignore “hungry”? I’m Norwegian. We feed people.
Secondly, how can I ignore a hungry man who knows his Bible? He didn’t write the typical John 3:16 on his sign. Nope – he wrote Psalm 41. I don’t even know what Psalm 41 says, I’m going to look it up when I get home.
Please, don’t think I’m bragging for stopping. I’m not a generous person – I tend more towards the miserly side on a scale of giving, especially when it comes to my time. I clench it so tightly, it would probably take two adults to pry my fingers loose of it. I don’t give time lightly.
My point is merely – kindness is rarely convenient.
If I were writing the manual for ‘How Life Works‘ I would want to write rules like:
Good deeds will always be rewarded.
If you stop to ‘do good’ – good things will happen to the rest of your day – you certainly won’t be late.
But, kindness is costly in real life.
Kindness is often called upon in the ‘Here & Now’, and it calls for help when you don’t expect it:
could you give me a ride to the meeting – I know it’s not on your way?
Could you cover my 8 hour shift today – my child is home sick?
Kindness often requires a sacrifice.
Oh, to be interruptible. Oh, to be available. To be faithful. To be willing to be inconvenienced.
You see, kindness is rarely convenient. It costs something.
It may cost you your time.
Rarely does it happens when you have a free minute or when you’re looking for something to do. It happens when it happens -often when you’re tired, or hungry, or late.
It may cost you your pride.
I’ve felt this more than once when giving to a person with a ‘hungry’ sign that was standing in the median in the center of a major arterial. This forced me to need to get out of my car, usually in the rain, walk across a busy street just to talk with the person or to give them a small offering.
This simple act of walking through traffic onto a median causes me to identify with the person standing there. I feel the stares from the onlookers in their cars as I cross the street – I feel the cold and the gust of wind with exhaust as cars drive by – I feel exposed and vulnerable, and a little embarrassed in this position.
I’m pretty sure God uses moments like this to keep me humble.
Kindness often costs me something.
One of the qualities I love most about God is His kindness.
God’s kindness is what draws us to Him. He woos us by His sweet and tender care and mercies towards us.
“I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.”
God shows us His love in ways we understand – cords of human kindness – through simple gestures, such as leaning down, bending low to feed a child, or manna to the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years.
To me, this echoes God’s ultimate kindness to us in coming down to earth in the form of man, Jesus – meeting us on our territory – finding us in our weakness – and meeting our every hunger and need.
You and I stand at our medians and troubles on the highway of life – perhaps we’re hungry (physically or emotionally), or perhaps we’re hurting or broken – God walks out to where we are standing and He offers us His hand and a way off the median to a new way of life.
Truly, kindness is God’s way. God’s example. God’s very character reflected.
“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak..”
– Psalm 41:1
**Thanks be to God for His loving kindness to us in having regard for us in our weakened condition and coming down – bending low – to where we are on earth to bring us His very life.