When I think of kindness, words like gentleness, affection and warmth come to mind. Rarely do I consider acts of kindness as possessing an element of danger, or even boldness. What’s not to like about friendly concern? Yet many acts of kindness would never take place without someone’s willingness to take a risk. Someone like Ebed-Melek.
Ebed-Melek proved to be a hero of kindness.
Ebed served in King Zedekiah’s palace. When he heard the king had given his officials authority to throw the prophet Jeremiah into a mud-filled pit, he refused to be silent. He boldly confronted the king and asked if he could rescue Jeremiah. He risked his own position to secure Jeremiah’s release. Ebed even provided rags for Jeremiah to place under his arms so the ropes wouldn’t cut through his skin as they lifted him up from the cistern. He proved to be kinder than necessary.
Risks taken in acts of kindness don’t have to be life-threatening. I think we sometimes avoid being kind because we’re afraid we might look foolish. We don’t want to risk our reputation in a culture which values aloofness over caring.
Once when our church was experiencing a devastating crisis, a friend wanting to encourage us appeared on our doorstep with a turkey. He didn’t give us sage advice on how to deal with the matter. He didn’t even offer to pray with us. He simply extended kindness to us in an unusual way—perhaps the only way he could think of—but it communicated he cared. A small act of sacrifice, perhaps, but one that left a huge impression.
We live in a world needing heroes of kindness. Of people willing to go out of their way to be kinder than necessary.
Father, we’re grateful for all you provide. Please open our eyes to see the needs around us and help us take the opportunity to reflect your kindness. May we be willing to risk our reputations, if necessary, to show others your great love.
Throughout the Day: Think of one unexpected act of kindness you can show to someone today. Then if at all possible, do it.
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