Monday, November 9, 2009

Honouring the Giver – True Reciprocal Kindness

All parents have had a distinct delight thrust upon them; the gift of an object, a creation really, that one of their children has made for them at school. It’s a swan that looks a little like a duck that sort of resembles a platypus. (We need to be creative here—it was made by a six year old!) It’s an item that the parent treasures. It almost makes heirloom status... I did say, almost.

In these times of receiving the kindness of a child’s gift it’s appropriate (very appropriate) to honour the giver of the gift by cherishing it—of course, the loving parent can take no other form of action. They keep it for decades more in honour of the giver of the gift.

Kindness is an unexpected gift.

“This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask.”

—Ruth 3:10b-11a (NIV).

Kindness begets kindness. It becomes highly reciprocal. When Boaz saw the rational and sturdy kindness of Ruth, one perhaps with an ulterior motive, he was moved to extend his own kindness of love toward her. He was radically impressed. But, of course, Ruth was merely returning a kindness already extended to her (Ruth 2:20).

Romantic love facilitates all sorts of kindnesses; it’s easy ground to break. Kindness in everyday life is a tad more difficult.

The measure of our kindness is the giving of what we can; not a small proportion of what we can, but what we can.

Whether it is kindness through giving money, time, effort, or of our abilities—the latter three perhaps more costly because they often cost us double—we ought to do so without second thought.

“Want to hang onto the blessing? Give it away.”

—Pastor Ray Brown.

The strangest thing! This thing turns the tables on our motives for giving.

Who is it who says the following?

“I already own the gifts you bring. All these things have come to you from My hand. You are to offer them on the altar of humanity’s need.”[1]

Everything we have is a gift—a gift to be given away; if not now, certainly on our last day.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Acknowledgement: inspiration for this article came from Pastor Ray Brown, from his message at Bellevue Baptist Church on 8 November 2009.

[1] Leslie F. Brandt, Psalms / Now (Adelaide, Australia: Lutheran Publishing House, 1974, 1976), p. 79. This is from the paraphrase of Psalm 50.

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