Welcome to my blog! Odd title you say? Yes, maybe, but I bet you would agree with me that life is chaotic! I'm mindful though, in the midst of the chaos, of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" I thank God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos He is transforming me to be more like Him!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Let's Make A Deal!
I was doing some stuff around the house the other day, and turned the TV on a few minutes before Dr. Phil came on. I was setting the TV to record my Dr. Phil show (as I do everyday!) and I stumbled across an old game show with a new look! Let's Make A Deal, hosted by the very funny Wayne Brady, was on. I watched as he gave 3 contestants each a designer purse which contained different money amounts in them. The contestants were then given the opportunity to keep the purse and the amount of money it contained or trade it in for whatever was behind...yep, you guessed it, "curtain #3!" Every one of the contestants chose to trade in their purse for something else behind a curtain.
I lead a 7th grade girls' small group at our church where we've been talking about the fruit of the Spirit. Yesterday we talked about the fruit of kindness. Not a fruit that many people choose to dwell on. What does it even mean to be kind? In my mind, it means...um, to be kind, right? To do kind things...it's hard to define. Webster states the definition of kindness as "the state or quality of being kind." Gee, thanks for the clarification Mr. Webster. We all have some idea in our minds about what kindness looks like though. I think of it like this "Extreme Home Makeover" kinda mentality that we see in movies or TV shows. But how often do we just want to do something kind for someone not asking anything in return?
You see, I think the way we treat kindness is a lot like "Let's Make a Deal." "I'll do something nice for you, if YOU do something nice for ME!" You've heard the expression, "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine!" Oh we may not come right out and say it, but when we do something kind for someone else, do we secretly have an agenda or hope to gain something selfish from it? This is not at all the definition God had in mind when he told us to cultivate the fruit of kindness in our lives.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."
How many times have we asked God, "God, what do You want from me? What do You want me to do?" This verse says it! What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, which simply means to do the right and moral thing; to love kindness, which means to LOVE putting others needs ahead of yours; and to walk humbly with your God.
We see a great example of kindness in the very first church. In Acts 2:44-45 it says, "All those who believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing with all, as anyone might have need."
This is what the church is supposed to be like! Where we aren't controlled by our stuff and always having to have MORE stuff when some people have nothing! They shared as anyone might have need - they viewed each other as more important then themselves.
We read this past week in the L3 in Acts 9. In v36 we find the story of Tabitha:
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.
I was so excited to be reading this verse! "Yay, God! You know we're talking about kindness later this week and You are giving me an example of someone who was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity! I can't wait to read about what You did in her life!" Then I read the very next verse:
And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died;
"Really, God? I mean, really? This is your great example of why we should be kind too...so we can fall sick and die?!" But God said to keep reading...
and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us."So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Wow! Do you get what happened?! Because Tabitha (or Dorcus, since that's so much better...) was continually abounding with acts of kindness and charity, these people were mourning her death. They all gathered there holding the tunics and garments she had made. Do you think they would have really cared that much that she had died if she would've just been a jerk? If she would have always been only looking out for her own interests? But she wasn't like that, and because of the way she lived her life up to this point, people were mourning her. So much so, that they called for Peter to come in and raise her from the dead. He did, and because all the people were there mourning her death, Peter was able to present Tabitha to the people as a testimony of God's greatness!! V42 says, "It became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord."
When you are a person of kindness, people WANT to listen to what you have to say. People will WANT to be around you. And in the me-centered culture that we live in, when you consider other people more important than yourself, you stand out! You stand out in a good way, and God can use that fruit in your life to help other people see God's goodness!