Have you ever been on vacation or even just passing through a different city and found the people to be, well,unusually kind like the islanders were to Luke and Paul in Malta in our verse today? Like have you ever asked for directions and the person didn’t just say, “Well your destination is about an hour away.” Instead they drew you a detailed map, with written directions, then took the time to explain them to you. All the while cooking you up a delicious lunch to take on the road? (complete with homemade baked goods of course).
This is an exaggerated example, but my point being today, that anyone can be nice. Nice, by definition is being pleasant. Everyone can be good-natured for a while without lifting a finger to do anything. Being kind on the other hand is different. Learner’s definition of kind is “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others “. This is more that just being ” good-natured”, pleasant, or even just putting up with someone who annoys us for a bit. It is a desire to do for others. For anyone, family, friends, people passing through, and especially those that may not have been so kind to us in the past.
What also struck me in Acts:2:28 was the adjective Luke uses to describe the kindness of the islanders, unusual. Why is it so unusual for people to be kind? I would assume back in the day, the islanders of Malta were not expecting a ship of prisoners to come crashing up on their island, ok I get it. However that didn’t stop them from being kind to these strangers.
I actually had a friend a few weeks ago tell me a story about taking her dad back to his home town just before he passed. You see, he loved these special hot dogs with this special sauce. When my friend and her father arrived, the hot dog stand was abandoned, but a woman from across the street came out and said they had closed up shop years ago. My friend explained to the women how her father was dying and how all he wanted was to come home one more time for one of those special dogs. The women didn’t hesitate, she told my friend to wait right there, Off she ran a few houses down and within about ten minutes she came running back with a bag full of the special sauce. She said, they may have closed, but the sauce is still here! Needless to say my friend was beside herself and that day her and her dad drove home and had a memorable meal all because of some unusual kindness.
Colossians 3:12 calls us as “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” (NIV)
In today’s busy world, I think we get too caught up in our own comings and goings to really be kind, unusually kind. I believe we are nice, sometimes really nice, overly nice, but nice isn’t kind. I love random acts of kindness, but why do they have to be random? We can choose kindness over nice everyday. As I am finishing this blog entry, this video just came on the ABC News. Enjoy this beautiful presentation of kindness.
(click link to show video)
Heavenly Father, thank you today for your love and grace. I pray that we can slow down and clothe ourselves daily with the compassion and kindness the islanders of Malta showed to Luke and Paul as did this young boy in Georgia and the woman to my friend and her father. May we follow in your way and show kindness not just niceness to those we meet. For we are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which You prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) NIV In Jesus name we pray, Amen.