The Fruit of Kindness


The fruit of the Spirit is . . . kindness. – Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

Be kind and compassionate to one another. – Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

When I was stopped behind a car waiting to make a left turn on a busy road last week, I was a bit antsy, especially since there was no left-turn lane. Left-hand turns, as you know, can be dangerous.

I was headed north—a tad late for my appointment—and there was no break in the steady southbound traffic. Time to practice that patience I talked about last week, huh?

Imagine my delight and surprise when a southbound vehicle stopped and gestured for the car in front of me to make the left turn. The driver didn’t have to do that—he had the right-of-way. It didn’t take but a few seconds and traffic was moving again.

Kindness is still alive and well in the world today despite the macabre headlines we read daily.

In the Old Testament, we read about a young widow, Ruth, who refused to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi, also a widow. Naomi and her family had moved from Israel to the land of Moab—not a country friendly to the Jews—during a time of severe famine. During their extended stay, both sons married Moabite women. Then Naomi’s husband died. Then both her sons.

Now, in those times, there wasn’t anyone more helpless than a widow. Girls were raised to become wives and mothers, so when they were widowed, they had to depend on relatives to support them.

Problem: Naomi was in a foreign land, far from relatives who could help her. So she decided to go back home. Her two Moabite daughters-in-law would go with her. But partway on the journey, Naomi told them to go back. She knew they’d have no future in Israel. One daughter-in-law turned back, but Ruth refused.

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you,” she said. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16–17).

What kindness!

Later on in the story, we read how Boaz, a relative of Naomi, showed kindness to Ruth because of her kindness to Naomi. To make a long story short, Boaz married Ruth, and the result of that union was a baby boy named Obed, who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of David, from whose line the Messiah came.

Ruth had no idea what the extraordinary result of her kindness would be.

In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of a man who had opportunity daily to show kindness to a sore-covered beggar at his gate. But he didn’t. And he reaped the fruit of his unkindness.

What about you? Will you be like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, who was blind to the opportunity to show kindness? Or Ruth, whose kindness rippled through time and continues to bless us today?

Open my eyes, Lord, to the many opportunities I have each day to show kindness to others. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Ruth 2 and Luke 16:19–31. I encourage you to read the entire book of Ruth. It’s not long (only 4 chapters), but it’s a beautiful, heartwarming story.

Don’t Pray for Patience!

The fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience. – Galatians 5:22 NIV

I was never known for my patience. Waiting time meant fidgeting time, and I wasn’t one to fidget long before looking for a way to decrease the wait time (translate: run ahead of God).

When the man of my dreams came along—THE one—I didn’t even wait for him to propose. I planned the wedding then told him about it. Good thing he was on the same page as I was.

My late mther-in-law once gave me a refrigerator magnet that read, “God, grant me patience, and I want it NOW!”

Sometime after our first child was born, I realized my impatience (and other not-so-nice traits) was making me—and everyone around me—miserable. So in desperation, I asked God to help me.

While I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a believer—when I didn’t sense the presence of God in my life—this was a turning point—of me turning my life over to God, of me relinquishing control.

Actually, it was an exchange—my miserable life for His glorious one. A.W. Tozer called this “the implantation of the Divine.” I like that term. God implanted His life in me—new life, a better life, abundant life, eternal life (see John 3:1–21). The moment I received the gift of this life, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in me (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Bear with me here. I don’t mean to preach. But after all these years, I’m finally beginning to wrap my head around what all this means.

When I said “yes” to God, He began a work in me (see Philippians 1:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:17), developing the fruit of the Spirit. Of course, I wanted to be a mature Christian right away—remember the refrigerator magnet?

But fruit isn’t fully mature, ready to harvest, immediately. It first appears as a tiny bud that grows into a fruit that ripens over time. It withstands all kinds of weather conditions, which make it stronger, better.


So it is with the fruit of the Spirit. “Fruit,” remember, is singular, not plural. Think of an orange: one fruit, many segments.

And one of those segments is patience.

As a young Christian, I was told, “Don’t pray for patience.” Why? Because when you pray for patience, you get plenty of opportunities to practice it.

Patience, as with all the other fruit of the Spirit, takes a lifetime to develop fully. Who wants a lifetime of hard times, difficult situations, impossible circumstances? Yet those times will come, whether we ask for them or not. God will not leave us baby Christians.

James writes, “Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete” (James 1:2–4 TLB).

These days, I’m much better at waiting—although I still won’t pray for patience. If God wants to send me something that will strengthen it, I know He’ll give me the grace to endure it.

Now if God can change a squirming, fidgeting, impatient person like me, imagine what miracles He can work in your life!

Thank you, Lord, for Your life in me. Thank you for taking the ugly parts of me and making them beautiful. Amen.

 Extra tea: Read and meditate on James 1:2–4

NOTE: Concerning salvation and new life in Christ, I like Dr. Steve McVey’s perspective:

In his book, 52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday, Dr. Steve McVey writes, “Salvation is not a matter of you giving your life to Christ. In fact, it has nothing whatsoever to do with what you have given God. Grace revolves around what He has given us, not what we give to Him! You receive eternal life not because you gave Christ your life. You receive eternal life because He gave you His Life!”

Do I hear “Amen!”?


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