What Does Kindness Look Like?
Things must have seemed pretty desperate for these women. But thankfully, they'd arrived during the harvest. Hebrew law gave instructions for providing for the poor during this time. Knowing this, Naomi told her daughter-in-law she'd be able to gather grain in someone's field. That was the law—to leave extra for the less fortunate. So Ruth went and found a field and began to work hard. When Boaz, the owner of the field arrived on the scene, he asked who she was. He'd actually already heard about Ruth, about how she'd moved with her mother-in-law and was taking care of her. So when his workers told him who the woman was, he was moved to help her. He told them to make sure she was protected from harm and that she was given extra grain. Then he invited her to eat with the rest of his workers. Ruth was overwhelmed by the kindness of Boaz. She wasn't expecting help from anyone, yet for some reason this man showered her with blessings.
Overseeing his workers kept Boaz busy, yet he wasn't too busy to recognize Ruth's needs. How often do we fail to show others kindness simply because we're too busy to notice them?
What About You?
- Ruth's and Naomi's needs were mainly physical—they needed food. What are some other needs people have?
- This week keep your eyes and ears open at school. Do you have friends who are struggling? Think of some ways you can show them kindness.
- Ask God to make you more sensitive to the needs of others.
Be Kind to Our Enemies?
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)
I always hated letting my brother borrow stuff. I just never knew what sort of condition it would be in when he returned it. And that wasn't the only reason I hesitated. Even though he was my brother, I had a tendency to view him as an enemy—pretty typical for siblings, I guess. Of course, I didn't have this problem when it came to my friends. I was quick to let them use my things. I also liked to do nice things for them, something that rarely crossed my mind when it came to my brother.
It's fairly painless to do nice things for people we get along with. But when it comes to those who get on our nerves or those who are downright mean, showing kindness typically isn't our first response. Yet that's the type of kindness Jesus was talking about in these verses. It must have seemed pretty illogical to those he was teaching. And it was. Loving an enemy just doesn't make any sense. Then again, neither does God's kindness, which was the point Jesus was trying to make.