Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How the kindness of God can change the world

God's Kindness Changes Everything
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” 
—Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV)

Unexpected kindness is one of life's sweet surprises.

I needed something sweet after attending a friend’s funeral last month, so I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home. It was the day before Mother's Day, and carts were full of colorful produce and fragrant bouquets of roses, tulips, and carnations. I typically avoid crowded places like a date with my dentist, so I planned a quick exit.

When the cashier asked how my day was going, she missed the evidence my mascara left behind. I'm not a good liar so I told the truth: My friend passed away.

The cashier looked at me with tears in her eyes and walked away. Puzzled by her departure, I admired the dark chocolate bars at the register and threw some in my cart. Moments later, when she returned with a bouquet, my words seemed inadequate. It was one of the kindest things anyone had ever done for me, and I left determined to pay it forward.

Hundreds of decisions define us each day while we’re living here on Earth. Some are life-altering, while others are insignificant, like what kind of eggs to fix for breakfast, what toothpaste to buy, what flowers to plant, and what song to tell Alexa to play next. But when we go out of our way to be kind, it costs nothing, pays big dividends, and makes us feel fantastic.

I'll never forget when my friend John who was grieving significant losses of his own, offered to put my dog down, knowing how hard it would be for me to do it alone. Or the joy in a first grader's eyes when I gave him an Easter basket. Or the gratitude my friend felt when our church's life group served the food at her sister's funeral.

I belong to what my pastor calls “the kindest church in Minnesota” because being kind is the way we live. When our women's ministry isn't making gift baskets for a local women's shelter or blankets for a local kid's outreach, our church’s Care Ministry sends cards to members who are sick or grieving.

The possibilities to do good are endless, but the ultimate act of kindness happened 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins (John 3:16). There was nothing random about His mission to save us (Luke 19:10). He showed us how to live a holy life (1 John 3:16-20) and changed countless lives in the process.

When you experience God's kindness for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out, He gives you the power to live as Jesus did. And that, my friend, changes everything.

The opportunities to be kind are everywhere if we look closely enough. While you're out in the world today, take time to do an act of kindness for someone. Most likely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens next.

Let's Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to show me how powerful kindness is. Help me identify opportunities around me today to be His hands and feet and, in the process, bring You glory. In Jesus's name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Kindness” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

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