It makes me wonder . . . when did all the cardboard signs start showing up? (But that's another matter). On that Monday night one of the sign holders hit me up. He wanted a pizza. Of course I had options - we always do - and the sheer number of cardboard sign holders out there seems to make it impossible to help them all. So what to do? Ignore him? Say no? Say yes?
I don't need to tell you my response, because that's not important. What's important is that in our short lives we are constantly running into opportunities to show kindness. A number of years ago the phrase "show random acts of kindness" became a very popular one and I know one pastor who wrote a book about it and made it the theme of his church. He spent his time training his people to really do it - and do it they did - with blessings upon blessings following them.
Let's think about kindness for a moment. Quoting Proverbs 25:21-22, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:20: “ . . . if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” There isn't room here to talk about "burning coals," but let me suggest that most of us who attend church feel like we're challenged enough by the idea of doing "random acts of kindness to strangers." "Really?" we say. "Can't we just ignore the cardboard sign?" I'll let you wrestle with that (and I readily admit that my resources are limited as well). But the point that the Bible makes is that random acts of kindness to strangers isn't even far enough. The ultimate test of your relationship with God is not whether you are willing to do good to strangers (that is assumed - see Matthew 25:35). The ultimate test of your relationship with God is whether you are willing to do radical acts of kindness to enemies. Hmm . . . apparently, I've got a long way to go.