Proverbs teaches us a wise person does goodness and kindness. It’s not only being a good person. It’s also doing goodness and kindness. You cannot be and will never be a wise person if you refuse to do goodness and kindness. God is counting on you. The world is counting on you.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure In Goodness and Kindness
Adventure In Goodness and Kindness
Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 27:15, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
I was in the Walmart parking lot not long ago. My day had not gone well. I was aggravated for reasons I won’t discuss. I was in a bad mood and had to make a run to Walmart to purchase something to fix something I had broken trying to fix something! I’m sure you’ve had those days when nothing you did seemed to work, so attempt to imagine my state of mind. I mean sometimes when I get like this all I want to do is sin. I’m thinking bad words. I want to say bad words, but I held them back because I’m a man of God. Hurriedly, I pulled into Wal-Mart parking lot. As I did, I noticed this older woman pushing a buggy and walking semi aimlessly around the parking lot looking at cars. As I parked, I observed her and thought to myself, “She can’t find her car.” I was in a hurry and not much detours me when I’m in this mood and state of mind, but I thought about proverbs.
Proverbs 11:17 YOUR OWN SOUL IS NOURISHED WHEN YOU ARE KIND, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
The Lord spoke to me and said, “Your day has been a bust and your soul needs some nourishing right now, don’t you think? Why don’t you ask the elderly woman if you can assist her in finding her car? Be kind to her.” The biggest part of me was saying, “I don’t think so. I want to fix what I’ve busted and I don’t want to take time to look for a car. Besides, I don’t want to embarrass the woman by making her admit she’s lost her car.” You have this “make excuses” part too, so don’t just think bad of me. However, there was the other part of me, the really good part of me, saying, “I think I will.” So, I approached the woman and said with a smile on my face, “Ma’am, have you misplaced your car?” She looked at me for a moment with a puzzled look. I didn’t exactly know what she would say, if anything. Then she said, “Yes. I thought I parked right here.” I said, “I’ve done this before. Can I help you look for it?” I suppose she thought, “This is unusual,” but in her dilemma said, “I guess so.” I asked her what kind of car it was, which she wasn’t certain. I asked her what color it was and she said green, but every green car I led her to wasn’t it. Finally, about 15 minutes into this (remember my state of mind), she pointed at a brown Buick (I should have known it would be a Buick) and said, “That sort of looks like it there.” Under my breath I was saying, “I sure hope it is,” but I said, “Well, let’s try your key. I took the key and it opened. She breathed a sigh of relief. We opened the trunk and I put her groceries and things in. She was thanking me repeatedly commenting about how she was losing her memory. I said, “You are very welcome and it’s ok. We all forget things.” She reached out, touched my arm, and said, “Thank you young man.” I haven’t been called “young man” in a long time. I smiled and again said, “Ma’am, you are very welcome.”
As I walked away with a smile on my face, I realized I also had a smile in my soul. I wasn’t thinking bad words. I wasn’t wanting to sin. My soul was nourished. In fact, it really didn’t matter anymore if I got the thing fixed or not. I felt good. I heard the Lord say, “I told you so.”
Well, Proverbs teaches us a wise person does goodness and kindness. It’s not only being a good person. It’s also doing goodness and kindness. Every time you or I experienced an opportunity to do something good and kind and did it, we felt good. The Bible is true.
My daughter Bonnie stands out in my head when I think about a person who does good and kind things for people. It seems every time I talk to her, she is doing something good and kind for someone. She goes here or there. She keeps children for parents. It seems she never tires of it even when it appears people are taking advantage of her goodness and kindness. I think she knows something most of us don’t know. It feels good. It gives a buzz and a high.
A reason it feels good to do good and kind things for people is we are being like Father God. God is good all the time. Once, someone addressed Jesus as “Good master.” Jesus said, “Don’t call me good. If you want to see good, look at God” (Mat 19:17). Every time we do something good and kind, God smiles because this is what we are created to do.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, SO THAT WE CAN DO THE GOOD THINGS he planned for us long ago.
Why were you created anew in Christ Jesus? You were created so you can do good things. When we do good things for others, we accurately reflect our Father God. And, it doesn’t have to be a huge good thing. Sometimes kindness in your eyes or kind words is what’s needed.
However, wisdom wants us to know more about goodness and kindness than it making us feel good. In fact, interestingly wisdom doesn’t want us to “be” good and kind to everyone. This sounds strange doesn’t it? If we just ran around doing good and kind things to everyone, we would actually injure some or ourselves in the process.
Proverbs 3:27 WITHHOLD NOT GOOD FROM THEM TO WHOM IT IS DUE, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Wisdom says to do good “TO WHOM IT IS DUE.” This would mean there are some to whom it is not due, right? Can you think of a situation when not doing goodness would be better for someone than doing goodness? I’ll give you some examples.
There were/are people who would not work and leeched off the goodness of the church. So, the apostle Paul said…
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.
Wisdom says to not squander your goodness on conniving, leeching people who figure out ways to not take personal responsibility for their own lives and leech off the goodness of others. Those are people “to whom your goodness is not due.”
In addition, wisdom says be cautious of doing good and kind things causing dependencies.
Proverbs 16:26 It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on.
What’s the saying? It’s good for people to get hungry. An empty stomach will drive them on to work. Parents need to be cautious about over providing for children. Wisdom tells us to teach them to get an appetite. Too frequently, parents, not the appetite, satisfy. We taught our children early to work. They had chores to do at home for allowance and could acquire bonuses. Both of them went to work and helped pay their way. They both became upstanding people taking responsibility for their own lives. Wisdom is not doing goodness and kindness in a way that undermines people taking personal responsibility. This goodness does harm.
Another warning about not doing goodness is when we do goodness with a “What’s in it for me” attitude.
Luke 14:12-14 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they CANNOT REPAY YOU, you will be repaid at the RESURRECTION of the righteous.”
Wow! This is a thought. My being in the resurrection is connected with doing goodness to the misfortunate. It’s easy to do goodness and kindness when we know we will be repaid. Jesus didn’t condemn doing this, but don’t think this gets you resurrection points with God. Jesus says if we really want to score big with God, do goodness and kindness for people who could not pay you back even if they wanted. If you want to touch the heart of God target goodness for some poor people, or some physically challenged people, or some mentally challenged people.
One of my sisters-in-law has a sister-in-law who is mentally challenged. Her name is Ann and Ann is about seventy. The family met at our niece’s house for Thanksgiving. Ann, who lives in a nursing home, always comes. Two of our nephews, Jeff and Brian, also Ann’s nephews picked up Ann, and took her to get her hair fixed, shopping, and to do some other sweet things for her. When Ann came in she sat down next to me, hugged my neck (as always), told me she loved me and prays for me every day, and began telling me all about her day’s experience at the beauty parlor with Jeff and Brian. She said flipping her hair, “I look like a movie star.” I believe to God she does, but also did her nephews look like stars to God. It’s the goodness Jesus talked about.
The wisdom of goodness and kindness is it should not be squandered on just anyone. It should not be squandered on conniving, leeching people who try to take advantage of others. It must not facilitate laziness. It should not create unhealthy dependencies. Goodness should not be done in exchange for goodness and kindness with “what’s in it for me?”
Along those lines, we need to be cautious about the organizations and ministries we support with our goodness, who claim to be doing good. When you know something is truly doing goodness, jump in. Volunteer your time. Give your money. Do all you can.
Proverbs 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, WHEN IT IS IN THE POWER OF THINE HAND TO DO IT.
Once you decide to whom your goodness and kindness is due then you have to do it. You can’t make excuses, turn your head the other way, or turn chicken. This is what you are created to do – good things. Can you imagine a world where everyone did the goodness and kindness they could do? There would be no poverty. There would be no hunger. There would be no war if everyone simply did the goodness and kindness within their own power to do.
Another thought, wisdom is only feeling responsibility to do goodness when it is in your POWER to do it. Sometimes it’s not in your power to do a specific goodness. You don’t have the knowledge, talent, skills, resources, time, energy, etc. We can’t use those as an excuse, but if we don’t have the power needed, we are not expected to do it and it’s not wisdom to try. Pray about it and allow God to assign this task to someone else.
Someone was telling me not long ago, how they saw a sick baby with no mother and they wanted to adopt it. This would be a great goodness, but her husband helped her see it wasn’t in her power, or their families, to do it. There was no way to do what God called them to do and do this too. Some people beat themselves to death because they can’t bring home all the world’s strays. Sometimes you have to realize it could be the enemy getting you off the track of God’s will for you. God is a big God with lots of resources. The family of God is a big family and we trust God knowing he will find what is needed. When it is in your power, do it. When it’s not, pray God will assign it to someone else.
Do you remember the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luk 10:30-37)? This person is traveling, gets jumped, beaten, robbed, stripped by robbers, and left half-dead. Several religious people pass the half-dead person and don’t help. Finally, a good Samaritan comes by, nurses the guy’s wounds, takes him to an inn, pays for his stay, takes care of any extra expense, and goes on to his business appointment. Jesus ends the parable with “Go and do likewise.” If we look at this story closer, there were boundaries of the Good Samaritan’s goodness and kindness. The Good Samaritan did the good within his power, but he didn’t cancel his appointment. He took care of the bill, but he didn’t take the guy to raise. He didn’t take the wounded man home with him. He did the goodness he had the power to do in the fashion the Spirit of God led him to do. He did much, but he didn’t do all perhaps could have been done. When we do goodness and kindness this way, it places pleasant borders so we are not overwhelmed and can spread our goodness all over the kingdom of God.
Galatians 6:9 So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a HARVEST OF BLESSING at the appropriate time.
I was thinking about some of you who have been here with me for years, some of you for 20 years or more. You’ve given and done good. You’ve given tithes and alms. (While I’m on it, I encourage each of you to help with the alms ministry. It all goes for goodness and kindness. You’ve made a way to help so many.) Those here over the years have provided a place for the Word of God to be taught the way you believe it should be taught. I want to tell you, God has a harvest of blessing for you and a resurrection. If you talk with people who once did good, but for whatever reason stopped doing goodness and kindness, you will notice their spirit is not what it should be or once was. Their heart is small. They are self-absorbed in their petty little problems. You walk away from them feeling sorry and sad. Approach any of those who have been here over the years refusing to give up, and every one of them say, “God has blessed my life.” God promises those who refuse to give up, not only a blessing, but also a harvest of blessing.
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE BROTHERS of mine, you did for me.’
In the economy of God, the way things are registered in heaven, is by our goodness and kindness. Every single ONE of the good and kind things you do and will do, you do as if you were doing it for Jesus himself. Christianity is not a head full of theology. Christianity is a heart full of goodness and kindness.
You cannot be and will never be a wise person if you refuse to do goodness and kindness. God is counting on you. The world is counting on you.
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