The great peril of the saints
"... whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (v.40)
How does kindness grow in us? It depends on how deeply we live in God. Some Christians set out to be kind but kindness which is the fruit of the Spirit is not the result of self-effort but comes from abiding in Christ. The Christian abides in Christ and the fruit grows and ripens of its own accord.
The kindest Christians are those who have no ambition to be kind and hold no such thought. This is not to say that they do not desire to be kind, but they do not try to manufacture their kindness. Consumed with a longing to be more like Jesus every day, their thought is not on their personal sanctity but on how they can reflect their Lord. They come across as people who were so self-forgetful that it could be said of them what was said of Samuel Barnett of Toynbee Hall: "He forgot himself even to the extent of forgetting that he had forgotten."The great peril of the Christian life is that we may become selfish in our consuming longing to be unselfish. Only as our roots go down daily into God through prayer and meditation in His Word can we be kept secure from the temptation to focus on growth for its own sake -- rather than for His sake. The person whose kindness is an appetite for praise gives up when the praise does not come. And they give up more quickly still if people say: "What are you getting out of this yourself?" The Christian whose kindness flows out of his relationship with God never gives up. He just can't help being kind.
O Father, help me to spend time with You so that in the legislature of my heart, You may write the law of kindness. Help me to come under its sway forever. Amen.
For Further Study
1. How are we to sow?
2. Of what did Paul remind the Ephesian elders?
More in Every Day Light, with Selwyn Hughes
Every Day Light 11/2