Kindness that Leads to Eternity
Kindness is what we all desire to receive but most don’t want to give. Kindness comes gift wrapped in different sizes, shapes and colours. Sometimes kindness can be a smile, a greeting, warm friendliness, a complement, hospitality, consideration or empathy. At other times kindness can be generosity, helpfulness, mercy, compassion etcetera.
Love is the source of all kindness because love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4a). The character of God is displayed in His kindness, it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. When we fail to show kindness, we fail to love and to develop the character of God in us.
Selfishness is also a major hindrance to any kindness. In our economy we believe that the more we give, the less we have and therefore we hold on to what we have, so we have more for ourselves. In God’s Kingdom it is just the opposite. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38).
When you follow God’s principle of giving, you receive abundantly in return. You cannot be kind and poor at the same time. Kindness is a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, of trusting God and loving others.
It is not the act of kindness that pleases God but the motive behind it. We may do great and heroic acts of kindness but if the motive is wrong, it amounts to nothing. If we do great deeds only to be recognised by others and to gain glory for ourselves, such intentions are displeasing to God and we lose out on the rewards that God would have given us, if our intentions were right. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, so I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Our motive towards our kindness must be genuine love and to give God the glory, otherwise all our kindness would mean nothing. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4).
Some people can easily show kindness to those they love but fail to show kindness to others. On the other hand there are people that are kind to strangers, but very unkind to their spouse, their parents and their children. God wants us to be kind to everyone, even to our enemies. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil (Luke 6:35).
Kindness comes with a cost, some inconvenience and sacrifice. True kindness expects nothing in return. True kindness originates out of love and compassion, like the kindness shown by the Good Samaritan. 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 10:30-36).
At times we can be so focused with our ministries that we overlook and fail to show kindness. Jesus in this parable reminds us that without kindness our ministries mean nothing. All our works are useless. Any ministry without kindness is a ministry without love, and a ministry without the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
We can show kindness to people that hurt us by forgiving them, just as Jesus has shown His kindness to us by forgiving us and dying for us. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). God wants us to be kind with our words. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).
Our kindness can make someone’s day a blessing. Our kindness can feed those that are starving, shelter the homeless, provide medication for the sick, give sight to the blind, and give hope to the hopeless. Kindness can help someone go to college and get a degree. Kindness can help an orphan find a home, keep destitute women off the streets and protect defenceless children from abuses. Kindness can console those that are mourning and pay a visit to the sick and the aged.
I believe the greatest act of kindness a person can do, is to share the gospel with others. The greatest gift to mankind is our salvation. All other types of kindness falls short when it comes to the kindness that our Lord Jesus Christ showed on the cross, when He died for our sins, took our place, so that we could be saved. The greatest kindness we can show to others is to let them know about the kindness of God, and lead them to Jesus Christ.
When you feed the poor, shelter the homeless, do plenty of kind deeds but fail to share the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, all your kindness is temporary and perishable, because the person you show kindness to, if he is not saved will be lost for eternity. Your kindness for that person has perished, but when you lead a person to Christ, that kindness will last for eternity, and that is the kindness we need to pursue above every other kind of kindness. Pray for people to be saved and then lead them to Jesus Christ.
Would you be kind to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those that are lost? May be you want to share the gospel but don’t know how to approach people. Start with sharing it with people you are more comfortable talking to. Share it with your family, your friends and your colleagues. We can share our faith also by being a good witness in the way we live, to people around us.
Like all kindness, sharing the Gospel also comes with a cost and it is called persecution. “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23). A little criticism and hostility we face is nothing compared to what Jesus endured for our sake. It would be selfish if we, who are saved, are not concerned in sharing The Good News with those that are perishing.
Therefore let us continue in the kindness of God, believing that we are saved by His Grace and not by our kind works. Nevertheless, we show kindness because we are already saved. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off (Romans 11:22). Let us pursue kindness and let our kindness be motivated by love.
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