Cultivate! A mandate given by God from the very beginning of time. Cultivate! As we are walking through the Fruit of the Spirit together God calls us to cultivate! We began with Peace, then Patience, and last week, Kindness. This week its Goodness. What is good? Jesus says, “Only God is good.” Instructive, but what does that mean for us? So this is what happened to me this week:
Here I am sitting at a fast food restaurant in Lakewood, CO waiting for Deone to show up for an evening fund raiser where a percentage of the proceeds from the evening sales will benefit Bethany, the organization Deone works for.
I’m here early because I was in the area for some other meetings. As I look around, I’m noticing much diversity from race to socioeconomic (appears to be.) I’m sitting at a high table and next to me is a women pouring over a well worn Bible with various restaurant drinks around her. We are both minding our own business.
After a few minutes she reaches out to me and says, “Would you like something to eat?” I said, “I would. I’m waiting for my wife to come, but yes, I sure do! Can’t wait to order up a chicken sandwich!” She then offers me a gift card with $23 on it. She said, “Someone gave it to me – I’m giving it to you.”
I recognized this ‘random’ act of kindness instantly after last weeks sermon and smiled widely, both inside and outside. I said, “Really? You can keep it if you like or need it.” And she again offered it to me, wanting me to have it. I gladly thanked her and accepted it. Then I remembered my own words from Sunday, random kindness is nice, but intentional relationship that meets the deep need of another is what kindness is all about.
We talked some more and I found out she has been in and out of the hospital with severe frostbite on her feet. Even now, she has open toe’d (what’s left of them – mostly stubs) orthopedic shoes to air out the open sores. Since the weather was so bad yesterday and today, she was in the hospital again, and now recently released. She spends her time mostly outside and on the street and iin and out of hospitals as needed.
Think about it – she is living on the street, was given a gift card with much needed money remaining for meals for the future, and she gave it to me. What a delightful gift of grace and a stunning example of the love of God she gave to me. We spent about an hour together talking… and as I received kindness from her through a gift card and wonderful conversation, my heart was flooded with gratitude.
She loves the mountains, especially around Morrison where she spends most of her days. That’s right sleeping in the mountains, wandering the streets, her daily needs stashed away in the mountains. She was heading back to Morrison yet tonight. I asked her if she was going to be OK – anything she needs?” And she said, “I have everything I need. God is taking care of me.” We both were thankful for the connection we could have for an hour. Probably met a deep need in both of us.
Kindness and Goodness are so closely intertwined – quite inseparable. She was a Bible reader. Knew much and communicated God’s truth beautifully. The display of her goodness and kindness was unexpected and super instructive. We blessed each other in God’s name as we parted ways. May God continue to provide everything she needs and for me as well – the deepest needs of our soul, everything for life.