Who Do You Want To Be?

silver fishes on green plastic container
 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23
 
Who would you rather be:  Job or the disciples feeding the 5000?  Job is the model of patience.  “The patience of Job” is a common phrase. You have to hand it Job, he endured far more trouble than any of us has likely seen. And his patience, the steady bearing of trouble, is justly famous.
 
But that image of patience might leave you wanting more. The disciples feeding the 5000 got to do things. That is the model of our theme this week:  kindness.  Kindness is usually seen as active. Kindness is compassion that moves out of the heart and into our hands and feet. Kindness lets us do something about the world we see.
 
Kindness is Jesus feeding the 5000. Remember how the disciples saw the mammoth crowd of hungry people at the end of the day?  They counted the people, the distance to food and the potential cost. Adding it up, they thought there was nothing to be done. But Jesus said simply, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37)  Only five loaves and two fish?  Kindness begins with what it has and leaves the multiplying to God.  Kindness is thankful that it has something to do.
 
Maybe we can think of kindness then as a three step sequence. Compassion first says, “These people are hungry.”  Compassion then steps out with even the little it has, five loaves and two fish.  Finally, compassion brings these small things to God and says, “Lord, you’ll have to multiply these, but I know that is exactly what you do.”
 
All credit to Job and his patient endurance of trouble. But I think we would rather be the disciples given the chance. Kindness is the chance to bring even the little we have first to God and then on to others.

Our Heavenly Father, we have little in our hands and those around us need so much. Bring us first to you with whatever we have. Then multiply what we have, even though it still looks like only a handful before a crowd. But you make it more, even enough, by your grace. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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