Skip to main content

Connect the Testaments

July 22: Showing Kindness to a Stranger
2 Samuel 9:1–10:19; 1 Peter 5:1–14; Psalm 138:1–8
When I was a teenager, I became serious about showing unsolicited kindness while working through a 30-day intensive devotional. The devotional required me to record an act of kindness each day. My efforts included things as mundane as taking out the trash before being asked and closing schoolmates’ lockers to prevent them from becoming the victims of pranks. Although the acts were simple, and mostly meaningless, the effort taught me a discipline. Kindness should be intentional, not random. But what if your kindness stems from guilt?
In 2 Samuel 9, King David shows intentional kindness to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, by offering them Saul’s land after Saul and Jonathan have died. It’s hard to know why David does this, especially since it puts him at risk—his association with the previous regime could anger his warriors, who fought against Saul. Is David merely being a good guy? Does he feel guilty because Jonathan, who had been so loyal to him, died in battle? Is he trying to establish that he is a merciful ruler? Does he have other political motives? The question of David’s motive evokes another one: Why do we treat others well?
Peter addressed this question of motive in his first letter, in which he exhorts ministers to “Shepherd the flock of God among you [being the people of the church], exercising oversight not by compulsion but willingly, in accordance with God” (1 Pet 5:2). He points out that if we are moved by compulsion, our motives are probably wrong.
There are times I wonder whether I treat others well because I subconsciously think that it will earn me points with them or with God. I battle this—it’s something we should all fight against. The state of the heart when helping others is every bit as important as the act itself.
What motivates your acts of kindness? What pure, kind, and intentional act can you perform today?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Utmost for His Highest

July 1st The inevitable penalty Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the uttermost farthing.Matthew 5:26. “There is no heaven with a little of hell in it.” God is determined to make you pure and holy and right; he will not allow you to escape for one moment from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. He urged you to come to judgment right away when He convicted you, but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison, and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. ‘Is this a God of mercy, and of love?’ you say. Seen from God’s side, it is a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but He wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing—the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His re-creating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you …

Revised Common Lectionary

Sunday, July 9, 2017 | After Pentecost Proper 9 Year A


Old Testament & Psalm, Option I Old TestamentGenesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67 Psalm Psalm 45:10–17 or Song of Solomon 2:8–13 or Old Testament & Psalm, Option II Old Testament Zechariah 9:9–12 Psalm Psalm 145:8–14 New Testament Romans 7:15–25a Gospel Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30

Revised Common Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2009. Print.

Do Not be a Drunkard

Do Not be a DrunkardExcerpt Next there is the demand for the elder’s temperance —“not given to drunkenness” (v. 3)—literally, “not lingering beside wine.” Anyone who longs for the halcyon days of the apostolic church longs for an illusion. It was rough and tumble. Drunkenness was an ancient blight. In Corinth some Christians were even in the habit of getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper (cf. Corinthians 11:21)! Paul repeats this warning to deacons in verse 8(“not indulging in much wine”) and again to elders in Titus 1:7 (“not given to drunkenness”). More Hughes, R. Kent, and Bryan Chapell.1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000. Print. Preaching the Word.