Unusual Kindness

Luke 6: 35

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great; and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Jesus says a lot in this short passage. It is a summation of the previous several paragraphs. He is giving us a model for living. This is the way He and His Father interact with others. Jesus tells us that God is kind to ungrateful and evil men as a way of showing us that we, being made in the image of God, should behave in like manner.

Anyone can be kind to those who are kind to them, but the life of Jesus calls us to a higher plane of existence. Jesus wants us to be like Him. To do so, we must expect more of ourselves than the simple life that anyone can accomplish. We should aspire to the high life, and that is the life and likeness of Jesus.

We need to love even when it is uncomfortable. We must learn to not only forgive those who transgress against us but also to pray for them; and moreover to pray from a generous and kind heart. We should learn to give generously, especially when there is no hope of a return. It is not a gift if you are expecting something in return. It is an investment. God, on the other hand, gives even to those who hate Him. He would have given His son even if there was only one person on earth and that person hated Him with the full strength of his being. Our God is a loving God, and we are seeking to be just like Him. Therefore, we must give from our heart love, goodness and every good thing, expecting nothing in return but just to please the Father.


Acts 9: 36

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which when translated means Dorcas); this woman was excelling in acts of kindness and charity which she did habitually.

One has to like this woman, Tabitha. Some of the other translations read, “She was always doing good and helping the poor.” First, she made it a habit to help others. Second, she excelled at acts of kindness and charity. What better report could be made of anyone. Would you like people to speak of you in these terms. I would.

She is called a disciple. It seems her understanding of following Christ was to be kind and generous. Most of us would agree that Christian charity is part of following Jesus. It used to be that the church took care of widows, orphans and aliens. That role has largely been passed to the state, but the state is not always best equipped to meet the need. By way of example, allow me to share one couple’s story with you.

Deneen, had a serious stroke 4 years ago followed later by a second stroke. She is 60 years of age, blind in one eye, crippled on one side, has busted teeth from the fall, etc. Things have gone downhill for her. She has been bedridden for about a year. Hospice helps once a week. The state has not awarded her disability. Her husband, Mike, is 67- 68 and still works 10 hour shifts so they can have insurance. They have very little help and no monetary support other than his salary. Mike was diagnosed, this week, with lung & throat cancer. In frustration and concern, Deneen’s friend wrote, “Where does the help come from?” and asked for prayer for this couple.

Prayer is great and this will be forwarded to the Ivey Ministries Prayer Team. However, I think we can do more. This holiday season please join with me to help this couple. I believe it is the church’s duty to care for people, but even more than that, I believe it is in the heart of believers to help those in need. Send what you can to help this couple. Send your gift to Ivey Ministries and mark your payment “Deneen”. Every penny of your gift will go directly to them. I can’t see any reason why we can’t raise a thousand dollars or more. Send checks to: Ivey Ministries, 7726 Amber Forest Lane, Lewisville, NC 27023. You may also click on the Donate button on the website to give with PayPal: IveyMinistries.org. Please know that PayPal takes out their percentage, which is fair, but it is a convenient way to give.

What do you say folks? Is this something we can do this holiday season? Perhaps you have additional ideas on how we can be a blessing to them. Please click reply or send me an email at irorie@nulliveyministries.org.

Let’s show, if not the world, at least this one couple what Christian love and charity is. I hope you can get behind this. I pray we can make a real difference in this couple’s life. Bless you!


Proverb 20: 28

Good leadership is built on love and truth, for kindness and integrity are what keep leaders in their position of trust.

Leadership is a challenge whether you hold a position of authority in the workplace or in an organization or team. No matter where you are tasked with leadership there are some common concerns. We often ask, “What makes a good leader” and “Are leaders born or made?” If you are challenged by leadership issues don’t feel alone. Every leader has struggled at one time or another. Think about this, even Yahweh had problems trying to lead the Israelites out of bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey. One might think that should be a fairly easy task. Who doesn’t want to leave slavery for abundance? If God had problems, then I guess it is okay if we struggle a bit too.

Solomon wrote this. He was the leader of a nation and worse, had to follow in David’s footsteps. Those were some mighty big shoes to fill. I am sure Solomon felt the pain of comparison with his father. None the less, he did survive and became a great leader. We will look a little more closely at his journey tomorrow. For today, we glean from his experience what makes a good leader.

Notice that power is not what Solomon based leadership on. Power can figure in, no doubt, but even if a person has power that does not necessarily make him/her a good leader. One can be a leader because of position or power but a good leader is the one whom people want to follow. Solomon wrote about good leadership, and he ascribed it to first love and then truth. How often do you think people are taught these two guiding principles for leadership? The next two keys to good leadership are kindness and integrity.

These may all seem familiar, but we can ask, what is integrity? Here is a definition I found, “Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.” Clearly it is aligned with truth, but it also means doing what you say you are going to do. People of integrity don’t say they are going to do something and then change their minds at the last moment when it is no longer convenient. They are people of their word.

Good leadership is kindness. Be nice to people in word and deed. This goes right back to some of what we looked at earlier about putting other people’s needs before your own. Leaders are supposed to look after the needs of their flock rather than asking the flock to meet their needs. Leadership is sacrificial. Above all leadership is love.

Jesus gave us the perfect model of leadership. Sometimes I am amazed at how the early disciples left what they were doing and followed him. I think he conveyed love and acceptance in his voice and demeanor. He hired some of the worst reprobates, but they followed him because of his love. He told them the truth, even when it hurt, but they still honored him.

Leadership is hard. Jesus lost one too. You are going to have people who are deceived and give in to wrong thinking too. The best any of us can do is to love our people, even if they don’t deserve it, to show them kindness, deal with them in truth and always, always be people of unflinching integrity. Yes, leaders make mistakes too. When we do, integrity demands that we own up to it but then you move forward. Be honest, truthful and care for those given into your care. Pray without ceasing for yourself as a leader and for your flock. And, may God strengthen you and carry you by His might.

Gentle Answer

Proverb 15: 1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.

The way we say things can be as significant as what we say. This lesson is important in the homestead as well as the workplace. How we speak to our children and spouses will often be the message they hear. One can start a fight just in the way they speak, but let’s take a closer look at that.

The proverb says a gentle answer turns away wrath. That means the words we choose are important. It specifically does not suggest we choose scathing words and couch them in a chuckle or a smooth voice. That person is not a wise person being gentle. He is a weasel, a slick salesman who thinks so little of those around him that he believes he can fool them with his vocal gyrations. People see through that and are offended and angered. That can stir up a fight as much as a nasty tone. A wise person knows how to convey, even a difficult message, in a polite way. They choose words that are not harsh and they show respect for others even in correction.

Wise people are able to communicate wisdom in the face of adversity whereas fools spout so much foolishness in their pretense of being wise. They stir up strife where the wise person finds a way to soften a response and to defuse a situation. They are able to tell people the hard truth but in a way that causes the recipient to be grateful even when the truth stings a bit.

Truth is a value, but it must be delivered in a way that another can receive it. Don’t use truth to batter another but rather to free them. Show kindness and gentleness in your speech and in your choice of words.

Proverb 15

Kindness Benefit

Proverb 11: 17         NIV

Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.

Let’s begin our meditation on this verse by thinking of synonyms for cruel. The word that stands out for me is mean, but there are others, everything from brutal to unpleasant and harsh. Just being harsh or hard can turn the tide against us. Kindness, habitual kindness, brings rain in its season, a ripe harvest and other benefits.

We do not live in a world which is kind. Yet, you can see kindness some places and some people overwhelm with their kindness. This verse puts us in mind that kindness benefits us as much as the benefit we do to others. Kindness should be its own reward, I suppose, but it is also seed which, when planted, yields a crop. That crop, however, is a harvest of multiple benefits. Not only do you reap kindness, but other good crops come up in your garden too.

So here is the rub, as I see it. I cannot do this on my own. I know people, you do too, you radiate kindness. In fact, you are some of those very people. For me, though, it is only Christ within me that exudes those wonderful traits. But for Jesus, I would not be able to demonstrate the very characteristics I value. If I am not spending enough time with my Father, then I don’t act with temperance and gentleness.

When a pastor reads this verse, the first thought is to encourage everyone to be kind. However, you already have that desire for yourself. What we all need is more Christ in our life. If I spend a lot of time in the world and watching the news, etc., then I can promise my kindness and gentleness factor is going to decrease. Then, as I sow less kindness, I am going to reap less kindness and other benefits. So, sure, I want to encourage you to be kind but I also want to empower you to do so. It is the grace of our Father that helps us and spending time with Him is the way to release more of His presence in your life.

Proverb 11:


Gracious and Merciful

Psalm 145: 8

The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.

Now isn’t that what you want in a best friend? As I read this verse, I thought that is really what we all want in our closest friend and God can certainly be your best friend. Gracious means showing favor, kindness or courtesy; being merciful and compassionate especially to one’s inferiors. Mercy is refraining from harming or punishing offenders or persons in one’s power; kindness in excess of what may be expected or demanded by fairness; forbearance and compassion. An additional definition says that mercy is a disposition to forgive, pity, or be kind. That is all great! In addition God does not get angry easily or quickly. Plus he is loving and kind. I really don’t know what more I would ask of Him. He sounds perfect to me. And His love is perfect.

He is not mad at you. Isn’t that good news? He loves you and wants to show you mercy and compassion. He desires to shower grace on you. He just wants to love on you and set you on high places out of harm’s reach. Get in touch with your best friend today and just let him know that you are really glad He is the way that He is and that you want to be His best friend too.

Not Fair!

Matthew 20: 12

These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day’s work and the scorching heat.

Do you remember this story, how the landowner bargained with workers at the beginning of the day to pay them a certain wage for a day’s work in his vineyard? Towards the end of the day he took on more workers. At day’s end, he paid all the workers the same wage, even those who came late in the day. The workers who worked all day were upset that the people who worked a half day, or less, received the same wage as they. I might be upset too.

This is a two-fold message I believe. First, it is an obvious salvation message. Those who come into the vineyard, or in this case the kingdom, are rewarded as generously as those who arrived early. Second, it is a message about God’s kindness and generosity. Why are we upset that he chooses to be generous to those who worked one hour?

I believe part of the answer is that we are still locked into an earning mentality. The workers thought they “earned” their wage by their full day’s labor. They thought they earned the reward through their labor. This passage reveals a God who doesn’t make us earn His benefits. He gives freely. If He chooses to bless people who don’t deserve it, we should be happy rather than angry or jealous because we see God’s love in action towards all people.

Then there are the rewards of salvation. Those of us who have worked in the vineyard for years ought to reap a bigger reward than those who show up at the last minute. Right? That is what our worldly self says to us. Moreover, we feel legitimate in that thought. The reality is, though, that God is giving gifts to all. Salvation is free. None of us deserved His grace when He extended it to us but with time, we have begun to feel that we have earned something. Some people live like the devil and then in the eleventh hour pray to Jesus for salvation while other people have served him all their lives. What is the equity between these two groups? The only equity in God is love. Love bestows great gifts without regard for earnings. That does not square with our brains, but we need to allow it to settle into our spirits. Those who come after us are just as worthy and unworthy as we. The only way we receive a wage or salvation is by the free grace of the Father’s kindness and generosity. We didn’t have to earn it and neither do those people who are making their way towards the kingdom.

I think this story rankles within us because it is so “unfair” in the way we were raised to think. However, when we look at this from God’s perspective it begins to help heal our hearts. We needn’t lament God’s kindness towards anyone for it is that very kindness that blesses us today.