This is post #4 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of His deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently. Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3: 12-14 (TLB)
So, now that we’ve put on the undergarment of Compassion, a tenderhearted willingness to act on behalf of others in need, Paul tells us that the next item we Christ-followers need to choose from our closet is the Garment of Kindness.
Sadly, this noun in the English language can be a bit bland. But in the original Greek of the New Testament, kindness takes on a fuller meaning than just being nice, or playing fair. To Paul, kindness was a very pro-active word. Much like the word compassion meant to be actively involved with others in need, so kindness meant becoming properly useable or well-fit for good service toward others.
Back in the day before self-service, when gas stations actually had employees who would pump gas into your car, there was an advertisement for an oil and gas company that offered its customers…
So, when you pulled into a Texaco gas station, there would be an army of service attendants who would swarm around your automobile, ready to meet every need of the customer.
Fill ‘er up, sir?
Clean off that windshield?
Look under the hood for you, ma’am?
Check the air pressure on those tires?
To Paul and the first century church, putting on the Garment of Kindness meant to not only express a kind word or two toward another person, but it meant for us to be practical and serviceable with genuine acts of goodness freely extended toward others. The word also had a sense of excellence attached to it. In other words, I didn’t just go out of my way to bring a nice gift to you, but I made sure that gift had excellence attached to it, an extraordinary act of kindness, one that would not only be appreciated, but be remembered.
True customer Service-with-a-Smile. Memorable. Noticeable. Over-the-top. Going the extra mile.
When was the last time you or I, as Christ-followers, not only had a kind thought toward another person, but then we actually went the extra mile, going out of our way to express that kindness in some practical, generous way?
Sadly, in our busy, get-r-done society, in our hurriedness to keep our own lives on track, we rarely take the time to step out of that busyness and self-centeredness so that we might offer even the smallest act of kindness toward others.
Maybe, just maybe, this type of over-the-top kindness might be the garment that gets the world’s attention again?
Dream with me here.
What if we Christians took it upon ourselves to become the Texaco “Service-with-a-Smile” gas attendants of the twenty-first century? What if we took the lead when it comes to pro-active kindness and we learn to out-serve, out-love, and out-bless anybody else in the kindness business?
Makes me wonder if Jesus just might get a lot more attention if His servants (that’s us!) would dress ourselves each day in this Garment of Kindness mentioned in Paul’s letter.
Fill ’er up, sir?
Check the oil, ma’am?
For the greater glory of God!
My Prayer: Jesus, sadly, I’ve reduced the idea of kindness into a gentle or nice thought or gesture toward others. The New Testament teaches us that the Garment of Kindness takes on a much more pro-active, inter-active caring, an over-the-top approach to blessing others. Holy Spirit, give me both the willingness and the imagination to enter into a lifestyle of Service-with-a-Smile Kindness, where it’s obvious to others that I truly care. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: Back in 1993, my friend, Steve Sjogren, wrote a book called Conspiracy of Kindness. The premise of Steve’s book was to call the church back to the place Paul speaks of here in today’s passage, where acts of over-the-top, generous, life-giving kindness becomes the centerpiece of ministry. What might it look like in this busy, get-r-done, self-centered society if you and I took it upon ourselves to become the most pro-active, kind people the world knows?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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