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Wisdom and prophecy calling for kindness

October 12, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Proverbs 21:21, Zechariah 7:9-10

Proverbs 21

21 Those who pursue righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor.

Zechariah 7

9 The LORD of heavenly forces proclaims:
Make just and faithful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other! 10 Don’t oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor; don’t plan evil against each other!

 

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Daily Reflection & Prayer

We can think kindness means relatively “small” actions like baking a few extra cookies to take to a neighbor’s house. Well, yes, but it takes in much more. The sages of Hebrew wisdom grouped kindness with “big” ideas like life, righteousness and honor. And the prophet Zechariah, in a passage that addressed the question of whether Israel should resume certain rituals after their return from exile, instead linked kindness to the justice issues that our study focused on last week.

  • Zechariah reminded Israel that “devout faith is demonstrated, not in rote ritual, but in rendering ‘true judgments, …kindness and mercy’ (verse 9). We are to act on behalf of the powerless in our world, taking particular care not to do harm to widows, orphans, aliens and the poor.” * How does your heart respond to Zechariah’s prophetic call to extend “kindness” beyond the easiest people to reach to those who may need it the most?
  • Proverbs 21:21, like Micah 6:8 (our memory verse for this BE campaign) used the sweeping Hebrew word hesed in its sense of kindness toward others. “The two qualities righteousness and kindness sum up a good life.” “‘Those who pursue’ means anyone who “shows or tries to show the two qualities referred to.” ** How does Proverbs’ wisdom here match up with your list of what makes for a “good life”? How intentionally do you “pursue” righteousness and kindness?
Prayer

Creator God, I’m often busy figuring out “the good life” for myself, with only my own pleasure as the major guideline. Show me, day by day, how to live in ways that pursue righteousness and kindness. Amen.

GPS Insights

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas

Gwyn Thomas joined the Resurrection staff in 2021 and serves in donor relations. She’s a Boston native and moved to Kansas City in 2020 when her husband Blake accepted a call at Resurrection West to lead their student ministries! Her favorite pastimes include pottery, hiking, frisbee, trying new restaurants, and spending time with Blake and their large orange cat, Tuna.

I’ve been a Christian my whole life. My mom instilled church in our family’s routine, and I loved it. Especially the people. I am a self-proclaimed extrovert which doesn’t surprise anyone who is reading this that knows me personally. I love being around people more than anything. I look back on my early years in the church and wonder if I loved God or loved the people… this week’s focus on kindness has me reflecting on that.

Being a part of the church, we have the opportunity to do kindness and do it well! Recent ways I have experienced kindness at Resurrection include hurricane relief, receiving flowers from my small group members, a personal invitation to join serve Saturday-–and this was all just in the last week! For me, kindness has kept me coming back (maybe more than God did in certain seasons). And I am so grateful for that because God met me in my heart each and every time, welcoming me back into relationship and worship. I owe so many ushers, Sunday school teachers and volunteers for the faith I have today. I sometimes cannot help but think about my friends who have stepped away from the church, and wonder if they would still be active if they received kindness from a stranger, a neighbor, or a church member. It is when we share more kindness with others that the kingdom of God is reflected more clearly here on Earth.

Have you heard the phrase, “They will know we are Christians by our love”? Well, my question for you is: Do the people in your life know you’re a Christian? And is it because of your love and kindness? If they know you’re a Christian, but do not experience your love and kindness, I wonder how that impacts their knowing of our kind and loving God.

Kindness has the sweetest undertone. Pause for a moment and say the word “Kindness” out loud. I hope you’re smiling because it’s a little silly to be talking out loud to yourself, but I also hope your demeanor has changed! Are you sitting taller? Are you feeling the power to change the world? That’s the Holy Spirit moving in you, so let’s BE KIND together and get to work!

Have a blessed day!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Rebekah Close LeMon, study note on Zechariah 7:3-10 in The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005, p. 1373.

** William D. Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, comments on Proverbs 21:21 in A Handbook on Proverbs. New York: United Bible Societies, p. 453.