by Jayna Coppedge
Defining kindness is like trying to describe a shade of beige: winter wheat, a little darker than eggshell, just a little lighter than taupe, not as yellow as tan. Kindness is a mixture of compassion, gentleness, mercy, grace, and thoughtfulness tinted niceness.
We see an example of this color swatch in Genesis 24. Abraham, very old, sends his most trusted servant back to his homeland to find his son Isaac a wife. The servant humbly prays when he arrives:
“LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” (Numbers 24:12-14)
Kindness is a character trait of God. Here the servant is depending on God’s faithfulness and favor. He is respectfully requesting a gift for his master, not demanding a right. Kindness is not an obligation.
Immediately a young woman appears, so the servant asks for a drink of water. She responds:
“‘Drink, my lord,’ she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, ‘I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.’ So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.” (Numbers 24:18-20)
This is an act of charity. She ran back and forth from the well to the camels. A camel can hold twenty-five gallons, and the servant had ten of them. She had never heard Jesus say, “If any one forces you to go one mile, go two”; yet she gave generously of her time and energy. She chose to respond in self-sacrificing kindness.
“Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, saying, ‘Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.’” (Numbers 24:26-27)
The servant does not worship the girl, but the Lord. When we show compassionate kindness, God receives the glory. When people clothe the naked “least of these,” Jesus says that they clothe Him. He is not saying he is literally clothed, but rather that He receives the glory for their selfless acts. God’s character is demonstrated when we show kindness.
The young woman, Rebekah’s, response of helping a stranger, and her bravery in leaving her family to move to another country, shows a woman motivated by kindness, not fear. There is no shade of fear in kindness. “Perfect love casts out fear.” In the King James version of the Bible, kindness is linked to love—loving-kindness. It is impossible to be kind without loving.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
(Colossians 3:12, NIV)
Genesis records that Rebekah receives jewelry, Abraham’s son as a husband, and the honor of being in the lineage of Jesus for her courageous acts. God rewards her kindness and faith.
As God’s people, we are to act as God does. We no longer have a heart of fear and selfishness; we have the Holy Spirit guiding us to choose the color of compassion, gentleness, mercy, grace, and thoughtfulness tinted niceness, aka kindness.
Are you hesitant to be kind?
How are you going to paint over your fears with kindness?
How will you destroy the paintbrush of selfishness?
Choosing to believe God and not leaning on her own understanding is a continuous battle for Jayna.
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