A teacher asked the pupils in her class to tell the meaning of “loving-kindness.”

A little boy jumped up and said, “Well, if I was hungry and someone gave me a piece of bread and butter, that would be kindness. But if they put a little jam on it, that would be loving-kindness.”

We have all known many people who not only gave us bread and butter, but also put some jam on it. We are much in debt to people who have shown us kindness. I think especially of my parents who did thousands of deeds of kindness for me. I also know a number of pastors who took me under their wing and helped me. I was very rough around the edges when I first started as a pastor.

The Rev. Earl Cochran was a great help in my very first church appointment at Adams and Filley. Cochran was never judgmental but always was kind and supportive. He had been a pastor for about 50 years when I met him. He gave me invaluable advice when I needed it.

Of course it was the Lord, Himself who showed us unending love and kindness. I have memorized Psalm 145 over the years. Verse seven says, “They will tell about all your goodness and sing about your kindness.” We can sing many songs about the kindness of God.

The world needs more kindness. Wouldn’t it be great to have more kindness in Washington, D.C.? There is no place that doesn’t need kindness. Make no mistake, kindness does have an effect; it will change people’s lives.

A young man was getting ready to go to college. He was making his way into the world. He would be away from the influence of his home and community.

His father said, “Son, I want you to remember three things wherever you go. First be kind. Second, be kind. Third, be kind.”

The father knew that kindness would always come back to his son. The father’s advice would always serve his son well. This sounds a lot like the Apostle Paul’s beautiful advice to the church at Ephesus: “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath, and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31 & 32).

The kindest person I know is my son, Paul. Paul has never said anything bad about anyone. He wouldn’t know how to hold a grudge. I’m not sure now it works, but I think some kids with disabilities have an inside track to the Kingdom of God.

Prayer: Our Lord, we are reminded of your great kindness to us. May we see the examples of others who are teaching valuable lessons about kindness. Help us to never run out of jam. Amen

The Rev. Dan Safarik retired as a full-time pastor at St. Luke Methodist Church in Lincoln and now serves part time at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln. Email him at debsafarik@gmail.com.

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The Rev. Dan Safarik serves St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Email him at debsafarik@gmail.com

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