Sept 13/20 AM
Pastor’s Corner: September 2020
The Exercise of Kindness, Especially in this Time of COVID
Someone mentioned to me the other week that at first COVID looked like an opportunity for Christians to rely on the LORD more diligently. Zoom was intriguing. But now we are all Zoomed out. And we have COVID fatigue. In fact, that person went out on to say, “Now I think so many of us Christians are getting lazy in this time of COVID.” There is one area in particular that we should be on guard against laziness, and that is in our exercise of kindness!
I am writing out the Book of Proverbs as part of my devotions. A few verses in Proverbs 11 stopped me in my tracks this week about kindness as Christ’s church in this time of COVID.
Proverbs captures some real paradoxes of daily life, which contain “secrets” to powerful and effective godly living. For instance: there are people who give so liberally, and they grow all the richer; while those who withhold giving – suffer a poverty.
One gives freely yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11:24
But even more wonderfully strange, there are people who, like God, reach out to others in order to bless them, are those people are enriched as they do so. The old translations put it this way: The liberal soul is made fat! Fat was a term used for a healthy and hearty sheep in your flock. God is saying, the one who is the soul of blessing to others, who is giving kindness, will himself or herself have this healthy vigour of practical godliness. They are like irrigation towers on parched farmland, yet they themselves become vibrant as the sprinkle kindness around them.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25
That verse stopped me in my tracks. We can live in fear and laziness in this time and become so isolated that the muscle of kindness really atrophies and shrivel up in us. But just like daily physical exercise – Use it or lose it. Jesus says there is another paradox: that every kindness, every spiritual gift, every active grace is increased by exercise; while its efficiency withers by neglect.
For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew 25:29
Mercy and kindness are God’s own character. When we exercise His character of mercy and kindness – when we have the spirit and action of love to others real blessing will abound. Proverbs 11 talks of what you freely scatter in your life – if its careless extravagance and sin, that will tend to poverty. But if you scatter kindness, like a farmer scattering good seed, you can expect a proportionate increase of blessing when the harvest comes!
Investors are always hazarding risky chances and speculation as they put money in various new businesses. The Christian is to hazard risky kindness on all sorts of people – but there is no uncertainty or speculation, God will use that kindness!
There is great concern that people are taking a break from church and may not come back. But church is not just a worship service, or a weekly fellowship time. It is God’s people walking in the way of Christ and living for his kingdom. We cannot take a holiday from doing that. The Bible says:
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
How are you exercising kindness in this time of COVID? There are safe ways you can visit others, there is a phone call, letter, or email. There are practical helps you can give to your neighbour. There are people who need our financial help. There are those whom we should be earnestly praying for in their need. As we start up our educational and outreach and hope to have more and more full worship. There are real needs for you to kindly be serving others here! Does your heart and your hands reach out in kindness? Out series in 1 John reminds us that we can’t just be loving in general, each day we must exercise kindness to a particular brother or sister in Christ in action! And look at the promise at the end of these proverbs:
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30
It is a sad thing that religious people like us can grow heavy and moping and cast down. Missionary/pastor David Brainerd often says that is because of idleness and selfishness. Let us watch against those twin dangers in COVID. Brainerd went on to say that “Living and working for God and to save souls, is the only way to knowing more and more of his truth and salvation.” Another experienced Christian writes: “How often, when my heart has been cold and dead, have I been quickened by the loving -kindness of the Lord.” How? “Upon, doing something kind and loving for a fellow-creature, and more especially for a fellow—Christian.” Venn’s Life, pp. 501-502). May this season not be one of heaviness, moping and casting down, but one where we rise to the energetic privilege of sowing kindness! May this season not be one of spiritual laziness, but of diligently bring blessing to others.