Kindness, or altruism, is doing what we can to enhance the happiness of others. A deliberately loving act, performed at the least convenient moment, is transformative. When we place others first and seek to sync our lives with what God loves, God blesses us with satisfaction and joy. Whether we naturally do kind things or become kind due to doing good deeds, there seems to be a connection between kindness and happiness, and God tends to reward such actions.
My grandmother shared the inspiring story of her pastor neighbor. He and his wife were struggling to save money to travel to the mission field. Realizing that they were still struggling to raise the required amount, they had given up hope of realizing their ministry calling.
One particularly arduous Sunday, physically and emotionally drained after an extended evening service, they both were looking forward to getting home. However, the day had not yet ended, and it confronted them with another daunting situation.
A drunk man had wandered into the church, fallen asleep on the back pew, and couldn’t be awakened. It was the last thing they needed after a very long day. Together, they managed to move him for the night from their church into an extra bedroom in their home.
On waking in the morning, the pastor and his wife prepared their unexpected guest a hearty breakfast. Gratefully, the man scarfed down the meal, thanked them, and left. They didn’t think anything more of what they had done.
A few days later, a check was delivered to them in the mail. It was enough to cover the boat passage as well as complete the money needed for them to go out onto the mission field. It turned out that the drunken man was one of the wealthiest men in the city. He had been going through a tough time and, in final desperation, had decided to go to church. You can imagine the joy of the pastor and his wife! They had given without expecting anything in return, but God chose to honor their generosity and open the way for his will for them.
In whichever country or place we live, all of us can attest to the transformative power of doing things in the name of Jesus. In countries where the Gospel has never had a hold on the culture or where people have turned away from God, many appear to suffer from a general loss of peripheral vision—exhibiting selfish, me-focused behavior. There is a general feeling of sadness and hopelessness. In places where the presence of the Holy Spirit is abundant, one can’t help but notice the considerateness and contentedness among people. A genuine Christian culture produces something you don’t find anywhere else.
Practicing Christian kindness is counter-intuitive. It’s being considerate and generous, extending an extra ounce of patience, ignoring an insensitive or unsubstantiated criticism, exchanging a smile for a scowl, or an encouraging word to an exasperated co-worker. Almost anything that is others-focused can release a positive emotion within us. It feels good to be good.
And God blesses uniquely those who are consistently kind to others. It’s an intentional habit that God wants us to form, that conforms to his will and exhibits to others his presence in our lives. Kindness is a universal language that communicates across almost all cultural barriers and opens doors to reach other people who wouldn’t ordinarily be accessible to us. A good and thoughtful spirit, along with all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), is how Christians should live before the world.
John I. Snyder is an international pastor (currently serving at Starnberg Fellowship, Starnberg, Germany), conference speaker, and author of the book Resenting God: Escape the Downward Spiral of Blame (ranked #1 on Christian Ethics in Theology on Amazon) from Abingdon Press. His highly acclaimed prayer guide Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God (ranked #1 on Meditations on Amazon books, #1 on Prayer on Amazon Kindle, #9 on Christian living on Amazon) from Thomas Nelson Publishers has transformed the lives of readers all over the world, taking them on a 100-day journey in prayer over a specific issue or circumstance in their lives. John received his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and he received his Doctor of Theology degree magna cum laude in New Testament Studies from the University of Basel, Switzerland. John has been featured on Focus on the Family, Moody Radio, Fox News, Faith Radio Network, Cru, American Family Radio Network, In the Market with Janet Parshall, The Bottom Line with Roger Marsh, Miracle Channel, Bill Martinez Live, and many more.