The other day I was reading this article from Reader’s digest, with several short stories of random acts of kindness from strangers. The following is an example of one of them.
Leaving a store, I returned to my car only to find that I’d locked my keys and cell phone inside. A teenager riding his bike saw I was upset. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
I explained my situation. “But even if I could call my wife,” I said, “she can’t bring me her car key, since this is our only car.” He handed me his cell phone. “Call your wife and tell her I’m coming to get her key.”
“That’s seven miles round trip.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
An hour later, he returned with the key. I offered him some money, but he refused. “Let’s just say I needed the exercise,” he said. Then, like a cowboy in the movies, he rode off into the sunset.
Ok, nothing brings me to tears more quickly than hearing or witnessing random acts of kindness. I love when you see or hear of a young person, first showing such kindness and second, not expecting anything in return!
In Luke, we hear the story of the good Samaritan. An expert in the law had asked “what we must do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus ask him, “what is written in the law?” The man answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus confirmed he had answered correctly. Then the man wanted to know “who is my neighbor?”
I will abbreviate the story, but basically a man was beaten and robbed. Out of three men that walked by him, the least likely one came to his rescue. He took care of his wounds, then put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn. He paid the innkeeper, asked him to look after this injured man and said when he returned he would reimburse the innkeeper for any additional charges.
Jesus asked the man that was an expert in the law, “which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robber?” The man said, “the one who had mercy on him”, Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The 23rd Psalm starts out “The Lord is my shepherd”, then David goes onto acknowledge “Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Over the last several weeks I have been talking about the fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are all character traits that are found in the nature of Christ. So, if we are striving to be Christ like, we should be seeking to live out these characteristics in our everyday life.
This week is our last week and the focus is on goodness. Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Goodness: in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good. Another study I did recently defined Goodness: moral excellence combined with a generous spirit.
Understanding that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then realizing our neighbor doesn’t have to be anyone we ever met before… it’s means anyone and EVERYONE!
We all have a reputation for good, bad or indifferent. If your neighbors were describing you, your co-workers, or your immediate family. A service worker that sees you regularly at the store, gas station or dry cleaners, what characteristics would each of these groups of people use to describe you?
I was reminded in church today that my influence, should be influencing others to live a Christ like life. If we are truly living out these nine character traits people are going be intrigued with us and they are going to want what we have!
Live a fruitful life and be ready to share with others where your love and joy comes from!