Sleep on This | March 27
Good evening friend!
Covid-19 is highly contagious; we all know that. But so is kindness. I have had more sweet conversations in and around our neighborhood these last few days than any other comparable time since Cyndi and I moved here. And what I’m discovering is, if you START that conversation with the question, “Is there anything we can do for you?”… it almost always evokes a response that is kind, warm and reciprocal.
Yesterday, eight of us stood in the middle of our street…six feet apart…in a prolonged conversation of mutual concern. We gave away a little more of that #24 bag of sugar that is sitting in our kitchen. We made mutual pledges to do a block party when this is done. We asked each other about the vulnerable folks on our street. There was a sweet tone of mutual compassion and care that pervaded that conversation.
Carping, complaining, hoarding and fear are highly contagious. So is kindness. Notice the wisdom and balance of Paul’s words in Philippians 2: 3-4
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
“Selfish ambition”…that’s the second time Paul has warned his readers against this toxin. “Humility” is the Christ-like opposite. And in that humility we are to “count others more significant than yourselves.” Notice Paul isn’t saying that others ARE more significant than you. Every single one of us is unique and precious to God. But we are to “count” others… “consider” others.. “treat” others as being more important than ourselves. Put others first. That’s kindness.
But he’s not asking us to be martyrs. In the next line he concedes that we need to look out for our “own interests.” We DO have a responsibility to be wise and prudent; to care for our needs and the needs of our family. Nothing wrong with that. It’s commendable and responsible, in fact. But, he adds, ALSO look to the interests of others. See what I mean? Very balanced, very reasonable…and very kind.
I promise: if your opening line in every conversation around your neighborhood is, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”… I PROMISE that sweet spirit will spread in a way that will transform your community.
Lord, as I lay me down to sleep…in my rest this night…instill in me a larger and larger heart for others. When I awake in the morning, make my first instinct a concern for others. Make my kindness contagious. Amen.