In this week’s Fruits of the Spirit guest blog, Pastor Ben Anderson is sharing with us about the spirit of Kindness. Pastor Anderson serves as lead pastor at Christ Church in Nashville, Tennessee, who has supported both our Founder and President, Nancy Alcorn, and Mercy Multiplied for over 30 years.
I’m old enough to remember way back in the dark ages when we used to watch movies with something called a video cassette recorder (VCR), which played an actual video cassette tape. (If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, a quick Google search will clue you in.) Long before Netflix was even imagined, video rental stores dotted the American landscape. On Friday nights, families like mine would stand for hours in the aisles of such a store, arguing over what movie we should rent to watch that weekend. By some miracle, we always came to an agreement, or at least a compromise. With our selection in hand, we hurried home, popped some Jiffy Pop (microwave popcorn wasn’t a thing yet), and then opened up that plain plastic case with the video inside. And there it was – that little sticker with four simple words that made us laugh every time we saw it: “Be Kind, Please Rewind.”
Kindness in our culture is often defined as simply being nice or polite to others. But when the Apostle Paul describes kindness as an element of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, he means something much more. Throughout the New Testament, kindness is meant to be understood as graciously serving others by meeting their real needs. To be kind in this sense, is to be useful to others by providing help and support in facing the real challenges of this life.
Jesus Himself shows us such kindness when He offers the following invitation:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
The word Jesus uses in the original language to describe His teaching (yoke) as “easy,” has the same root as the word Paul uses in Galatians 5:22 for “kindness.” In our English translation, the connection between these passages is easy to miss. But when we think about it, doesn’t the teaching of Jesus serve to meet our deepest need for life-giving truth? Are not the words and deeds of Jesus the kindest of all because of how they provide the help and support we need, no matter what trials or challenges we may face? The teaching of Jesus is “easy” in that it is meant to be useful for life, like a well-fitting yoke made to fit us perfectly. The kindness of God, offered in Christ, is what meets our soul’s deepest need for rest in Him.
We always tried to remember to rewind our rented videos before returning them to the store. I recall there were more than a few times we popped a tape into the VCR only to discover we would have to wait a few minutes to enjoy our movie. It turns out some folks were not so kind and did not rewind. I know it may seem like a trivial illustration. But maybe the intention behind that little sticker on that video tape wasn’t so trivial after all. Never forget how serving others in kindness has the power to make a true difference in this world. Surely Jesus shows us kindness in this way, and we are likewise meant to show it to one another. When we consider and act for one another’s benefit, especially above our own, the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to bring life-giving change to our circumstances and in our relationships. It’s true we may not have to be encouraged to rewind our rented videos before returning them to the store anymore. But let us be encouraged to freely and frequently share the fruitful kindness of God, which He so graciously promises to grow in our hearts and bear through our lives, as the Holy Spirit lives in us.
Pastor Ben Anderson serves as Lead Pastor of Christ Church Nashville. More than anything, Pastor Anderson loves to see the Word of God bring life, healing, and hope to all who will receive. He and his wife, Erin, have been married nearly twenty-one years and have three children, Dylan, Luke, and Zeke. Be sure to visit Pastor Anderson and Christ Church Nashville on Facebook, Instagram, or their website linked here.
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.