A Reward for Kindness

“David, my son—is that you?” Saul asked. Then he started crying and said: “David, you’re a better person than I am. You treated me with kindness, even though I’ve been cruel to you.  You’ve told me how you were kind enough not to kill me when the Lord gave you the chance.  If you really were my enemy, you wouldn’t have let me leave here alive. I pray that the Lord will give you a big reward for what you did today.”  1 Samuel 24:16-19

David and Saul had a thing going.  Some would call it a rivalry, but David didn’t really hate Saul, he was just scared for his life because God wanted him to be king instead of Saul, and Saul didn’t like that one bit.  To add to the problems, the people of Saul’s kingdom were siding with David, and David was well-known for his military prowess, as well as his solid relationship with God.  When we meet our two main characters in 1 Samuel 24 David just had the opportunity to kill Saul but he didn’t.

It brings us to our topic of the month: kindness and the reward we get for being kind.  Sometimes it’s easy to be kind, like to the mom with her arms full with a baby carrier struggling to open the door at the coffee shop.  It’s not so easy when we’re asked to set aside a rivalry that we’ve had for years or even generations and forgive someone.

But that’s the power of kindness: it enables us and gives us the strength to be the bigger person.  And, as we’ve seen here, the kind acts we do can even teach others about kindness and transform who they are.  No, it doesn’t always work that way, nor was this the end of the interactions between David and Saul.

But it creates one of my favorite things: hope.  Yes, when that kind of kindness is introduced anything is possible.  It becomes possible to get out of your prison, it becomes possible to mend a relationship.  It becomes possible to have an impact on your family, your community, your nation, your world.  Maybe you won’t have the impact of Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King Jr, but that doesn’t mean that the kindnesses you do would go unnoticed.

God notices the kindnesses you do and will reward you for them. No, we shouldn’t do them to be rewarded, we should do them because it’s right.  But the reward we will receive is like the ice cream with apple pie.  It goes above and beyond the awesome feeling of being able to do something good for our fellow man.

This week I encourage you to do something good for someone else, maybe even someone else who can’t repay you for the kindness you’ve done. Of course, I’d love to hear all about the kind acts you do, share them in the comments so we can all celebrate together!

Help with Change

“At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.”  1 Samuel 10:6

This month we’ve been talking about our ability to change and the situations we find ourselves in.  And I’ll always say that you have the power to change any situation or yourself at any time.  But sometimes there are situations that will call for greater power than you personally have and that’s when it’s time to tap into the relationship you have with God.  While God isn’t a drive-through where we can pick up what we need and get on with things, it’s more like the difference of gathering sticks, striking a match, cooking food over the fire versus putting food in the microwave or oven.

When we choose to be in a relationship with God we’re given the gift of being able to tap into His strength and power when we need it. We won’t always be able to pull the healing power we need to cure cancers and other major sicknesses, but we can always get the strength to get through tough situations with grace and peace.

Choosing to be in a relationship with God also gives us the strength to beat some of our stronger demons, habits and vices.  It gives us the courage to seek out professional help, to be honest with our partners, families and close friends, and the strength to get up each day and take one more step in the right direction.

God can take any person and turn them into their best version of themselves.  He can make us into the people we’ve caught glimpses of yet can’t pull up as we wish. He sees the best in us and can help us bring it out.  All we have to do is admit we’re ready to be the person He knows we can be.  As painful and challenging as it may be to get there, it will be worth it in the end .

Friends and Faith

“Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16

Life’s pretty challenging.  I’ve learned that there will be good days and rough days, as I’m sure you have.  We all hope that the good days will be more numerous than the bad ones, but sometimes it seems like all we’re having is bad days.  At this point it’s helpful to have a friend who can encourage you to stay strong.

Jonathan and David are two of the most famous of the Biblical duos.  They were united and separated by family and power, yet their friendship remained strong.  They remained friends through thick and thin, until Jonathan’s untimely death separated them.

What I love about this verse is that Jonathan knew David was feeling discouraged and experiencing a bit of a crisis of faith, and sought him out.  Jonathan didn’t wait for David to show up crying on his doorstep, or let him struggle alone, he went out and encouraged him.

This month we’ve been talking about why having faith is important and the impact it has on our lives.  Jonathan and David’s story reminds us that it’s not just about our individual faith journeys, but that we’re on a faith journey together, even if we’re of different faiths, backgrounds, families or livelihoods.

Who are your faith friends?