So today, I stop by my favorite hole-in-the-wall sub shop to get my favorite hole-in-the-wall sandwich only to find my order is completely ready to go BEFORE I request it. At first, I'm confused thinking the bagged contents I'm receiving belong to someone else. But after an initial balk, the lady behind the cashier assures me, 'No, no. It's for you. I saw you through the window before you came in the door.'
As wink provoked smirk, I couldn't help but ponder
the moment as I walked out. If we want to mature in our kindness, it's worth
noting as spontaneous as it may occasionally seem, true generosity/compassion
not only recognizes the needs of others, but anticipates the needs of
others...pointing people in the direction of God who knows what we need even
before we ask for it.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." ~ Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV)
Digging deeper, when we consider how kindness is addressed in Paul's letters, we can deduce inspiration from its Greek etymology, which in this case means 'choice, aged wine'.
Check out Ephesians 2:4-7...
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
Note the extravagant language Paul uses to color mercy and grace in the context of kindness rooted in Christ. Basically, Paul is saying kindness...
a) as fermented goodness must be a constant rhythm in our life that gets better the more we engage it and...
b) as an extension of love must also stir up a desire for giver and receiver to go and do likewise.
Pretty cool, eh?
So next time you're tempted to view benevolence as a random act of kindness, dare instead to see it as partnering in Christ's ministry of knowing what others need before they can ask for it. Not only will such perspective help you better anticipate the needs of others, but it'll also enlarge your capacity to show the immeasurable riches of grace as you serve in love.
Photo creds: coupons.com
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