The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, November 10, 2022, comes to us from Siera Grace Toney of District of Columbia, USA.
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' 40 And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'
KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING
In recent years, I have noticed a rise in social messaging around kindness. For example, “Be Kind” has been added to email signatures, social media statuses, t-shirts, and face masks. And “Kindness Is Everything” has become a new rallying cry for social justice. In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus shows the eternal importance of Christian kindness: feeding the hungry and quenching people’s thirst; welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked; caring for the sick and visiting the imprisoned. These kindnesses are more than a “nice” way of being. They are a communal commitment to meeting every human’s basic needs.
These acts mean everything to many people who are in desperate need. And radical kindness opens the door to blessings, eternal life, and the kingdom of God. When we act in kindness and care for those who are in need, we care for Jesus. If we are truly followers of Christ, we must understand that kindness is everything – for those in need and for our own souls. Without this understanding, attempt at a ministry of justice are incomplete. As a follower of Jesus, I think “Kindness Is Everything” is a mantra all Christians can rally around.
Matthew 25:31-40 has served as a foundational scripture for calling people of faith to examine the way we interact and treat the disadvantaged. Verse 40 carries particular weight: ”40 And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'” Those who have shown compassion to the marginalized, sought to aid the disadvantaged, and advocated for the dispossessed are said to have responded as if their actions were done to the king himself. As people of faith, we are called to balance our healthy skepticism with genuine grace-filled service, recognizing that our service is a reflection of our relationship with God. It is not always easy to show kindness, yet, to show kindness is a mark of a maturing person of faith. While our acts of kindness are sometimes met with disbelief, we are nonetheless called to offer kindness as Christ has shown us kindness.
Lord Jesus, show us how to live out your truth that kindness is everything in the midst of these challenging times. Amen.
-- Siera Grace Toney
For more kindness in the world.
Thought for the day:
I can do justice through acts of Christian kindness.