A few years ago, tragedy struck popular Christian singer Toby Mac’s life. When his 21 year old son died of a drug overdose he found himself in deep despair. And wouldn’t we all? The next few songs he wrote reflected that state of incredible sadness. One day, he asked God if this was where he would sit the remainder of his life. God, in his infinite goodness, began a new work in the singer. Through the Holy Spirit, the beauty and glory of God were revealed to him in what Mr. Mac calls, “glimpses.”
I wrote on a napkin one day, ‘you’re still the goodness in my life,’ and I started to believe that, and to see how God is good to me. That’s when I wrote “The Goodness,” and it felt like a celebration, because I began to think about how gracious God is, and how He gives us little glimpses of His goodness, even in the valley.Toby Mac, on You’re the Goodness in My Life
The result of understanding and experiencing God’s goodness was an action by the singer. An act I would call of kindness. He wrote the world a song to help so many others see those glimpses during their difficult trials.
Too often we take the gifts of God and create a narrow narrative on what they should look like. Hospitality “should” be a beautiful home, sumptuous meal and perfectly made up host. Joy means always being “happy.” Love means not only accepting everyone’s choices but willingly going along with them. You see what I mean? We all know, in our hearts and minds those are false narratives. And yet we still succumb to them. Kindness falls into the same trap.
When the Holy Spirit does his work in us He does it in concert with our gifts and talents, I believe. For Toby Mac, an accomplished musician, that meant creating something beautiful musically for all the world to enjoy. He didn’t have to write that song and record it. He could’ve kept it to himself. But I’m sure the Holy Spirit whispered to him, “This is what I want you to do.”
While I have written before the importance of prayer when it comes to so many decisions in our life, when we seek to merge our life to reflect God, we will know what kindness done with our talents can look like on a daily basis. We don’t have to ask, we will know. We may need that whisper or nudge but if I were sitting having lunch with you right now and asked how you could be kind to your neighbors you would have a few ideas that would differ from mine. And all of them God would say, “It is good.”
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
Our daily walk in soaking in God’s unfailing goodness and the Holy Spirit’s transforming power of helping us shine that goodness will lead us to the fruit of kindness. Fruit that is so juicy and good. We won’t feel as though we “have to” help that neighbor or stranger. We will feel impelled to. Just like God doesn’t feel He has to be nice to us – He loves us so much it’s just His essence!
Kindness to me may look like asking my neighbors to overwhelm our new neighbor with a newborn with boxes of diapers. To you, it might be a hot lasagna tray or trimming their bushes. Kindness to a homeless person can be just a moment of talking to them or an invite for a meal or shower.
I once called the police to come and check on a homeless person laying across the sidewalk and onto the street. I feared the was dead. Many, many people had walked and driven by the man. When the police came, they took him (alive) to a shelter. Yes, that was kindness too. Not leaving someone in a distressed or dangerous state. Isn’t that the type of kindness God does for us most often? At least that’s what the Holy Spirit did for Toby Mac. Through His love, goodness and kindness He lifted him out of despair and put him back on his fruit-filled journey.
Friend, if you aren’t sure or feel uncomfortable about selfless acts of kindness look to our Father. He doesn’t hesitate with us. He gives generously and freely. And if we want to be imitators of “good,” bountiful fruit bearers, He shows us the way each and every day in our own lives.
You may find it almost impossible to keep your minds always tending upwards, but at any rate, while you are here, “look up” with eyes uplifted to the hills where comes your help. Happy will it be for you, if by the good Spirit of God you can but get the eye so fixed upon the goodness of God now, that you shall become so fascinated, that your attention cannot be taken off that glorious object; it will be a blessing to you, a great blessing which will bear you through all your trials, and make you suck honey from the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.Charles Spurgeon
Next week: Faithfulness