Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 4 - Thursday

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Matthew 5:46-47

The late children's television host, Fred Rogers, affectionately known to many as "Mr. Rogers," once said, "There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind." Clearly, kindness was a big deal to Mr. Rogers. He exuded kindness. Through his kindness, every child who watched his television show knew that they were valued, loved, and cared for. Because of his kindness, millions of children grew up with a positive sense of their identity and worth. Fred Rogers valued kindness because he knew that God desires kindness in His people.

In Micah 6, after lamenting the sin and rebellion of the people of Israel, Micah turned to God, asking Him what He wanted Israel to do. After revealing that God wanted His people to "do justice," Micah gave the second thing God wanted from the Israelites. God wanted the Israelites to "love kindness." According to Micah, in order to be restored, God wanted the Israelites to take up an attitude of kindness. This is true for followers of God today. God is concerned that we, too, live with kindness.

When Jesus walked the earth, He noticed that kindness was only extended to those who had something to give in return. This is why He called out the Pharisees in Matthew 5, acknowledging that they were only loving others when it was in their own interests. Instead of loving people who were easy to love, He pointed them to loving other people who had nothing to give back. True love shows kindness even when you receive nothing in return.

Today, kindness seems to be the exception, not the rule. When someone reaches out to us with kindness, it is often surprising and unexpected. As followers of God, we should be people marked by kindness. This means that we should not only be kind to those who are easy to be kind to. We are also to show kindness to those who are difficult to love. Everyone is worthy of kindness. After all, Jesus gave his very life for everyone, including those we find it hard to show kindness to. May God's kindness toward us spur us on to show that same kindness to other people today!

Moving Toward Action

Although some people in our lives may be hard to love, God makes it clear in the Bible that we are to treat everyone with kindness. There are no exceptions. Who do you have a hard time showing kindness to? Take time today to pray for that person. Ask God to give you opportunities to show kindness to them this week.

Going Deeper

Read Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.