It has been said many times by many people that love has to look like something. Very true. The problem we have is that love looks different to each individual person. To me love may look like someone bringing me coffee and a plate of cookies. To you love may look like a long walk with your significant other, or like playing with your grandkids. See what I mean? The question we really need to ask is, “What does love look like from God’s standpoint?” Fortunately He has painted us a picture just so we know.
As one looks around the Church today it seems there is a lot of imbalance regarding the character of God. To a large number of people He seems to be the great Sugar Daddy in the sky that exists to fulfill their every whim and fancy. To others He appears to be an austere Being who is constantly angry and poised with an upraised fist, just waiting for the moment He can gleefully rain down fiery judgment on sinful mankind. Talk about extremes! While both these pictures have an element of truth to them, it is easy to see that we need to move toward a more balanced view of the Lord.
“Random Acts of Kindness” has become a real catch phrase lately. You see it everywhere. In the Kingdom of God, however, I’m not sure there are any “random” acts of kindness. Allow me to explain what I mean…
What Are We Talking About?
Random acts of kindness can be defined as something a person does for someone they know, or for a complete stranger, in order to help them out or simply brighten their day. These “random” acts can take many forms. One popular story circulating around the web is of patrons at a local coffee shop purchasing “suspended coffee” for the poor and homeless (see the story here). There are whole websites devoted to the concept. Some local newspapers even have sections in them where people can share their experiences of being on the receiving end of these kind deeds.
But in the Kingdom?
But do random acts of kindness happen in the Kingdom of God? Personally, I don’t think so. Why not? Because those of us who live in the Kingdom have completely devoted our lives to performing the will of King. As a result, the King is constantly working out His will in our lives through His Holy Spirit. That is the meaning behind Philippians 2:13.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. NLT
The Holy Spirit will lead and energize us to do kind acts, but there will be nothing random about them. These acts will be specifically targeted to doing a work in the lives of those who are on the receiving end. They will be a great blessing to us as well.
A Personal Story
Allow me to share a story from my own life that I believe will illustrate what I am trying to say.
I don’t know about you, but I never pick up hitchhikers.
Did you get that?
One day, however, I was on my way back to Canada after an extended ministry trip to my home state of Kansas (please, no Wizard of Oz questions). As I pulled up to a stop sign out it the middle of nowhere, I noticed a pickup truck pull over on the opposite side of the intersection and let a hitchhiker out. I had every intention of blowing by him like he wasn’t even there (I know, not too Christian!). But as I drove across the road to where he was standing, I suddenly found myself pulling my car off the road and stopping! I lowered my window and asked him where he was heading. Come to find out, he was going to the same town in South Dakota where I intended to spend the night. I invited him to hop in.
That was the beginning of a whole day spent showing this man the love of God. I listened as he told about a life that had definitely known some rough times. I bought him lunch (he was going to eat cold soup out of a can). When we reached our destination, the Lord told me to give him a certain amount of cash. He choked up as I put the money in his hand. He then went his way and I went mine.
While this event might be classified by some as a random act of kindness, there was nothing random about it. It was a specific event orchestrated by King Jesus so He could show His love to this individual. And please don’t think this story is about what a good person I am because it had nothing to do with me. I don’t pick up hitchhikers, remember?
Follow the Promptings
I believe acts of kindness should be one of the streams of living water that flows from the lives of the Kings subjects. So let me encourage you to following the prompting that urges you to pay for someone else’s lunch at the restaurant. Follow the nudge to write someone a note of encouragement to lift their spirits. Follow that sudden notion to visit that Senior Citizen in the nursing home. These promptings, random though they may seem to be, are actually the Spirit of God directing you to show the King’s kindness to others. This is the normal way of doing life for those who are truly living in the Reign.
From the time we first enter the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit has been working to bring our state up to the level of our standing. Our standing is who we are through our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Our state is the way we are at the present moment, whatever that may be. The enemy of our souls often tricks us into thinking that our state is the real us. If we agree with him, we will experience life on a much lower level than the Lord intends. On the other hand, if we begin to agree with the Holy Spirit and live according to our standing in Christ, we will begin to live as though nothing is impossible.
In this brief video, Graham Cooke does a masterful job of outlining our standing in Christ. It’s one of those videos you will want to view again and again. It will definitely kick start your day and send you on your way rejoicing as you sally forth to live in the Reign.
A Time of Ministry
Recently my wife and I had the opportunity to share the things of God with a group of folks in another community. I shared the Word of God and then prayed with several people. It was amazing to see how the Lord moved in the people’s live. We had a great time of ministry.
A New Insight
The next morning as I got quiet before the Lord, He asked me a question that opened a whole new line of thinking for me.
“Did you enjoy washing feet last night?”
Words cannot describe how this question impacted me. As His question (and a few other things He said) penetrated my consciousness, I saw something I don’t believe I had ever seen before.
All ministry is about washing feet.
Whenever we minister to another, whether by the Word or by the Spirit, they are being cleansed from the defiling dust of wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs, judgments, rejections, fears, sins, illnesses, etc. that are picked up from walking in this fallen world. When our heart is to serve through love, the King can do amazing things through even the simplest act of kindness. He can cause cleansing and healing to take place on levels we know nothing about. Interesting, huh?
In the culture of Christ’s day, foot washing was the lowliest task performed by a slave. The King set the example of loving service by washing the feet of His disciples and instructing them to do the same for one another (see John 13:1 – 17). Some groups have take this literally and hold actual foot washing services. That’s fine. For me, this insight from the Lord put a whole new twist on things. I don’t think I will ever look at ministry the same way again. Serving the King by washing the feet of others, however we do it, is another facet of living in the Reign.