The Wednesday Word Devotional for June 28, 2023.

“Kindness” by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

This week in our Fruit of the Spirit devotional series, we come to kindness.

Have you noticed that ordinary acts of kindness seem to stand out more than they used to? Letting someone ahead of you in line at the store, complimenting your food server for their great service, or even holding the door open for the person behind you is often met with great surprise. Why is that? Why is kindness not always the norm?

This well-known John Wesley quote is painted on the wall of the program building at camp:

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

We spend a lot of time teaching about kindness at camp. It is a concept that children (even little ones) can understand. We are able to point to many examples of this kindness in the Bible, which makes it a good place to start to introduce children to the scriptures. They can relate to the story of the good Samaritan, and to Jesus feeding the hungry and healing the sick. Children are wired for kindness.

We often have a time in the week at camp when small groups get to think of random acts of kindness to do for others at camp. They usually do things like writing thank you cards to the kitchen staff, cleaning up the bathhouse, or doing another cabin’s KP duty. We have a tradition at camp where we present campers with a pin or a small token throughout the week calling out how we saw them show kindness to others. Inevitably, this kindness thing becomes contagious. Pretty soon campers start falling over themselves looking for more and more ways to be kind — clearing other people’s plates after dinner, filling up a friend’s water bottle, sharing the light from their flashlight walking up to their cabins.

Kindness begets kindness. Don’t believe me? I dare you to take the kindness challenge this week. Try it at work, in your neighborhood, or at home. Below is a list of Random Acts of Kindness that might spark some ideas for you and others in your life — even some for the kiddos in your life. I challenge you to do just one random act of kindness each day this week. For you over-achievers, I challenge you to write these acts down. Maybe even write down the acts of kindness that come back to you. I bet you will find that you fill up a page pretty quickly once you kick off your kindness campaign.

I was looking through pictures on my phone for examples of kindness for this devotional and I didn’t have to look too far to find them. I found pictures of people serving at the food distribution, working at the community garden, serving communion, making Valentine’s cards, reading to dogs, volunteering at church, cuddling a grandchild, greeting a new visitor at church, holding a sweet baby at a memorial service reception so the mama could eat, and even a visit from the Easter bunny.

Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes. What better way for Christ’s light to shine through us is there than a simple act of kindness? I wish you a beautiful week of kindness.

Dear God,
Thank you for the ways in which The Fruit of the Spirit is growing in me. Help me to recognize ways and places where I can show up with kindness this week — even if it is something as small as a smile.

List of 21 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas:
Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line.
Send a positive text message.
Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats.
Leave a gas gift card at the gas pump.
Send a “shout out” email recognizing a co-worker’s great work.
Write a note to a former teacher or mentor thanking them for how they inspired you.
Make dinner for a family in need.
Hand out popsicles at the park.
Donate your allowance for the week to a charity.
Walk a neighbor’s dog.
Babysit for free.
Bring donuts to your next staff meeting.
Snap a photo of a couple and offer to airdrop or text it to them.
Give someone a gift card that you don’t intend to use.
Wash someone’s car.
Spend time with your grandparents.
Make a family member breakfast in bed.
Do a sibling’s chores.
Drop off coloring books in the pediatric wing of the hospital.
Take the time to listen to someone.
Look for someone new at church and introduce yourself to them.