by D. Greg Ebie
Galatians 5:16-25 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Tony Campolo tells about an incident that happened to him on his way into work. Walking the sidewalk pathways of downtown, Tony would often pass by a number of homeless and transient people. From time to time, they would make requests for money; generally, he ignored them.
One day a bag lady, whom he had seen before in his mad dash to get from point A to B, shuffled out of a donut shop with a steaming hot cup of coffee. Their eyes met and Tony forced a smile. Putting down her coat and bags she called out, “Hey mister, would you like a sip of my coffee?”
Now if you were Tony how would you respond? Keep waking and ignore her? That’s what Tony did, or at least he started to. A half a block away, he turned back around and said, “Hey lady! Yes, yes I would like a taste of your coffee.” She held out the cup with her dirty hand; he took the cup and swallowed what had to be the most delicious cup of coffee he had tasted in a long time.
“Isn’t it good,” she said.
“Yes it IS GOOD! and thank you. By the way, why did you offer me your coffee?”
“Because it was so good, I thought someone might like to share it with me and enjoy it too.”
A small, yet simple act of kindness from a stranger interrupted Tony Campolo’s walk to the office. Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, yet regardless of how big or small we all appreciate a kind act. This morning we are going to focus on “THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS . . . KINDNESS.”
The fruit of the Spirit is OF THE SPIRIT and not the saints. Kindness is born of the Spirit; human energy or effort does not naturally produced kindness; it comes from God. Yes, people can be kind apart from God, but their kindness is impure and incomplete.
The Kindness of God – What is God’s kindness like?
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Who is it that God is drawing to Him with loving-kindness, the righteous? No! God’s loving kindness is given to those who have rebelled against the Lord and turned away from Him. God is kind to the wicked.
Luke 6:35 (NIV)
Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back . . . because [God] is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Jesus doesn’t tell us to love our friends and treat them nicely. He says love your enemies! Why? Because that is what God is like; we are to follow His example. God is kind to the ungrateful—those who take God’s kindness for granted and don’t give it a second thought—and the wicked—those who turn their back upon God and despise Him.
Notice how Matthew expresses the kindness of God in the parallel passage of Jesus’ teaching.
Matthew 5:45 (NIV)
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
The kindness of God does not discriminate! God does not treat His enemies differently than He does His friends. God shows His enemies kindness in order to win their friendship, as Paul told the Romans, “God’s kindness leads to repentance” (Romans 2:4 NIV).
God’s kindness is without limit. Kindness breaks down barriers and boundaries. Kindness opens the door to the fullness of God’s love and fellowship. Kindness takes in the objectionable and critical; it welcome those filled with bitterness and resentment. Kindness even takes in us!
Ephesians 2:7 (NLT)
God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.
We who believe show others the riches of God’s incredible kindness. God offers His kindness to those who do not deserve it and us regardless of how the recipients of His kindness respond.
The fruit of the Spirit is kindness. Jesus said as we are connected to Him we would bear much fruit. Remember that apart from Christ we can do nothing! Separated from Jesus there is no fruit (See John 15:5).
Kindness Illustrated – The Good Samaritan
Jesus show us what the kindness of God looks like as it is expressed in our lives. THE FRUIT OF KINDNESS DEVELOPS AND MATURES TO BE GIVEN TO OTHERS.
Luke 10:30-35 (NIV)
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
The story of the Good Samaritan shows us four different types of people. We encounter people like this everyday; however, today we are not called to be FRUIT INSPECTORS, but FRUIT PRODUCERS. In other words we need to take a look in the mirror and see which of these types of people look back at us. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the condition of our hearts to us so we can be transformed to be the person God would have us to become and produce much fruit.
1. The Selfish and Hostile
The robbers represent the selfish and hostile. These people are only interested in what they want. They will climb the latter of success regardless of whom they have to step on doing what ever it takes to get what they want. Their motto is simply “The end justifies the means.” If I want money and wealth then I can do what ever I want to have it, including taking it from you.
James 4:1 (MsgB)
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.
The priest and the Levite represent the next two types of people. Jesus does not tell us why the priest or Levite crossed over to the other side of the road. While one would expect both of these to have offered to help because of their religious standing, they passed by.
2. The Indifferent
The priest and Levite may have just been indifferent. Perhaps they are just overwhelmed by the need and feel that they have nothing to offer those in need. The indifferent lack a heart of compassion.
The indifferent won’t kick you when your down, but they won’t offer you a hand to get up either. They ignore you and just pass by minding their own business.
3. The Legalistic
The priest and Levite may also be legalistic. They justify their lack of compassion in order to remain holy in the eyes of their peers. The legalistic follow their man made rules and ignore God’s higher law to love your neighbor as yourself.
If I stop to get involved, I’ll be late for work.
I can’t give because we have made a commitment to get out of debt.
If I say something nice, then my friends will make fun of me.
4. The Kind and Compassionate
The Samaritan is kind and compassionate. Jesus shows us what Godly kindness is like through the Samaritan. The Holy Spirit will help to bring about these things in our lives so kindness fully develops and matures.
1. Kindness will take action.
The Samaritan did not pass by or ignore the one in need. The Samaritan took action to do what he could to help meet the need.
Kindness is love in action. Kindness is not an attitude we develop in our heart; it is not a new way of thinking about the situations we encounter. Kindness has to get out; kindness held in is not kindness at all.
Remember we have said we are talking about THE FRUIT of the Spirit and not the fruits. Love is the blossom; without love it is impossible for the fruit to be produced in our lives. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, “Love is kind;” in other words, love takes action and finds expression through kindness.
Kindness is love serving. To serve others requires action!
Kindness will give; it will share.
Kindness will provide for others; it supplies what is lacking or needed.
Sometimes all that is needed is a kind word. An elderly lady always went to the local post office because the employees were so friendly. Once she was waiting in a long line to buy stamps just prior to Christmas. The man in line behind her said, “Mamma there’s no need for you to wait in line; you can buy your stamps at the machine in the lobby.” The old woman said, “I know, but the machine won’t smile or ask about my arthritis.” The only action the machine could provide was to dispense stamps, but the action of the employees dispensed stamps and kindness!
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people . . . clothe yourselves with . . . kindness.
2. Kindness will take a risk.
The Samaritan did not stop to consider if the robbers were still lurking behind the rocks. Or what if it is all a trap and the Samaritan becomes the victim? The Samaritan was willing to put his possessions and even his life in jeopardy to offer kindness to the one who was in need.
What if Jesus had wanted to play it safe? What if He didn’t want to take any chances? We would still be lost in our sin without any hope for salvation.
Philippians 2:6-8 (MsgB)
He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! . . . He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.
Jesus was willing to take a chance and risk everything so He could meet our need. The wages of sin is death (see Romans 6:23); Jesus was not worried about the price. He determined to provide what we needed no matter what. That’s what kindness does; it will take a risk.
3. Kindness will pay the price.
The Good Samaritan didn’t examine the man’s wounds and then calculate the cost. The Samaritan was willing to pay the price and do whatever to took to help the man in need. Wine was poured on the wounds to purify and prevent infection; oil was added to comfort and soothe. The Samaritan paid for the man’s care at the inn; he paid the price!
The price was paid even without the guarantee that the man would recover from his wounds or even that the man would be thankful for his assistance! Jews hated Samaritans, but the Samaritan didn’t let this prejudice keep him from giving to meet a need. Kindness pays the price regardless of the outcome. Paying the price means you assume the risk.
Jesus assures us that while paying the price may come with no guarantees in this world, God will assure us of a surefire dividend that we can’t lose! In other words, paying the price of kindness has its rewards!
Luke 12:33 (MsgB)
Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on.
Luke 6:38 (MsgB)
Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
Kindness will take action; it takes risk and will pay the price.
4. Kindness will put others first.
The Samaritan didn’t worry about his schedule for the day. He didn’t think about himself but put the needs of the wounded man ahead of himself. Not only did the Samaritan give of his resources, but he also gave of his time. Putting others first often means being willing to give of our time.
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)
If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.
Perhaps we could paraphrase what Paul tells us like this: “Have you been living only for yourself? Stop it! Think of others and share with those in need.” Kindness will put others first.
5. Kindness will finish what it starts.
The Samaritan didn’t just bandage the man’s wounds. He didn’t just take the man to a safe place where he could receive more help. He even did more than pay for room and board the man would receive. He also promised to pay whatever else was needed to nurse the man back to health. THE SAMARITAN FINISTHED WHAT HE STARTED!
Philippians 1:6 (GW)
I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.
Quaker, Stephen Grellet wrote: “I expect to pass through this world but once, any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now, let me not defer to neglect it, FOR I SHALL NOT PASS THIS WAY AGAIN.” [quoted in Winward, The Fruit of the Spirit page 136]
Kindness will take ACTION. Kindness takes a risk and is willing to pay the price. Kindness puts others first, it finishes what it starts. And finally:
6. Kindness does not seek recognition.
What was the Good Samaritan’s name? Jesus doesn’t tell us. The Good Samaritan does not seek out the priest and the Levite to promote himself over them. The Samaritan is content to remain unknown.
Likewise, our kindness is not to elevate our reputation, or make us look good in the eyes of other people. Real kindness does not seek to find glory for oneself; instead, kindness gives glory to God.
Corinthians 10:31 (MsgB)
As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory.
KINDNESS DOES NOT SEEK RECOGNITION, INSTEAD THE RECOGNITION AND GLORY GOES TO GOD. The fruit of the Spirit expressed in our lives is like electricity. When you plug something into an outlet it makes a connection to the source, but the electricity will not flow through wires or do anything until the circuit is complete. When you turn on the switch the circuit is then closed; in this way the current runs through your electrical appliance to do the work it is designed to do, and then the power continues to flow back to the source. The electricity that is generated at a power-plant completes a circle through all the electrical things you use in your home and back to where it all started.
Are you going to allow God’s Spirit to produce kindness in your life?
Will you take action?
Are you willing to take a risk?
Will you pay the price?
Are you ready to put others first in your life?
Will you finish what you start?
Are you willing to give the glory back to God and not seek recognition for yourself?