"'Which of these . . . was a neighbor to the man . . . ?' 'The one who had mercy on him.'" - Luke 10:36-37
My professor in the Netherlands was the kindest person I've ever met. Even though he had a position of great respect and even fame, he picked my family up at the airport when we arrived, transported our baggage fifty miles out of his way, and would faithfully open the door for me as well as the rest of his students.
Kindness meets the needs of people in concrete ways. A kind driver stops along the roadside to help someone change a flat tire. A kind neighbor will reach out to babysit when the family across the street has to rush one of their children to the emergency room. A kind motorist or pedestrian will help to give you directions in an unfamiliar town. Kindness is the merciful action of a loving heart.
But some people refuse to reach out and show kindness. In Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan, a priest saw the man lying beaten along the road and passed by on the other side. A Levite did the same thing. But a Samaritan who came along helped the beaten man even though he was despised as an enemy. He acted as a neighbor because he showed mercy to the man in need. He was kind.
I believe that kindness is the world's greatest unused capital. A veritable gold mine of kindness lies buried within us, just waiting to be let out when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Lord, may we overflow with kindness in the Holy Spirit even in times of trouble, hardship, and distress—and when we just don't feel like being kind. For Jesus' sake, Amen.