Kind words and actions are often hard to come by nowadays. Our neighbor shared recently about a rather shocking experience when she happened to look out her window and saw a stranger walking around behind her house. When she questioned him about being on her property, he answered her very rudely.
Apparently, he was surveying property lines for the woman next door; however, it seemed suspicious as he had no identification and no apparent need to be in her yard. Why would someone be so rude, she wondered? This prompted our neighbor to call the local police about his trespassing.
Still in spite of instances like this, there are many acts of kindness happening too, like the single mom who dragged her snow blower across the street and cleared off our driveway after a big snowstorm. Or Andrew next door who shoveled a path through the snow on the sidewalk so that “Judy would be able to walk the dogs!” He didn’t know that we were staying indoors until it warmed up some!
Our dear friends, Joe and JoAnn Payne, have consistently practiced kindness over the decades that we have known them. Just recently they offered to help out a single woman, a friend from their church, who lost her job. She was taking classes at the nearby university when this happened. It put her vision for a degree and perhaps a better job in the future on hold, while she found something else just to meet her cost of living expenses.
When the Paynes heard about this disappointing turn of events, they offered her a room at their house so that she could live rent free and focus on her studies for the next year or however long it might take to get the degree! Wow! Not many people would be willing to take someone whom they didn’t know well into their home. And for a year or two?
Over the years, Joe and JoAnn have done this several times, once taking in a family with ten kids who needed a place to live while mold was being removed from their home. Their kindhearted actions towards others are inspiring.
The book of Ruth in the Bible is a story of great kindness shown by Ruth, a native of Moab as well as through Boaz, a prominent Jewish citizen of Bethlehem. Although this book was written during the period that there were judges governing the people of Israel, a time of disunity, moral and religious decline and of an uncertain future, there were still those who were kind, respectful and compassionate.
A Jewish couple, Elimilech and Naomi left Israel during a famine to relocate in Moab, a neighboring country to the southeast. After many years, Naomi’s husband passed away. In addition to this tragedy, she also lost her two grown sons who had married Moabite women.
An impoverished widow, Naomi determined to return to her homeland. When she told her two daughter-in-laws to go back to their own people, Ruth refused. “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1: 16) The other woman stayed in Moab.
Once they were back in Bethlehem where Naomi had lived previously, they had no means of support. Ruth began picking up grain left behind by the workers during the barley harvest in a field owned by Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s late husband.
Boaz eventually made arrangements to purchase property owned by Elimilech and married Ruth thus ensuring that Elimilech’s name would continue through the generations. Their son, Obed, was Naomi’s precious grandson. His name is listed in the genealogies of King David and Jesus.
May the Lord enable us to also be kind people in our actions, speech and written words.
“… The Lord be with you!” (Boaz) “The Lord bless you!” (the response of his harvesters) — Ruth 2:4b NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” — Colossians 3:12 NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.