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Thomas Chalmers: Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

“Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year. You will never be forgotten. No, your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.”

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 320.

“Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year” is an expression that moves me.

What does it say to you? It tells me that I must touch each person with an unselfish awareness that generously gives them what they need, not what they deserve.

What about your role? This statement also reminds me to steward my role well because over the course of a year, I may have the opportunity to impact thousands of people.

Might this be our greatest legacy of generosity? Let us write our names in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of those we serve this year for God’s glory.

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Henry Martyn: Gentleness and Kindness

But the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. James 3:17

“The power of gentleness and kindness is always irresistible.”

Henry Martyn in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 320.

I arrived home yesterday afternoon in a snowstorm. It broke just before sunset when I shot this photo at our townhouse. This morning I am giving thanks for the way that the wisdom from above transforms our lives.

It leads us to be pure, which in antiquity is to reflect integrity or consistent faithful living. It makes us friendly and gentle. We also become sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere.

What Martyn adds with his comment is the fact that the power of gentleness and kindness is irresistible. He’s right, isn’t he? Just think of the impact that gentle and kind people have on you.

Now think of a person you have difficulty interacting with. They are easy to resist. But what if you asked God to help you extend gentleness and kindness toward them by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you?

Add gentleness and kindness to your generosity. You will deeply touch the hearts of those that God leads you to serve. Some of them might be difficult souls, and the power of these traits is irresistible.

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C. Nestelle Bovee: Increased kindness

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35

“A generous nature, when it forgives an abuse of its favors, seeks by increased kindness to prevent a repetition of ingratitude.”

C. Nestelle Bovee in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 294.

When we read text like today’s Scripture, we are stunned by the fact that God “is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.” Our human tendency is to condemn the ungrateful and the wicked.

Bovee sheds fresh light on why we must turn up the kindness when we sense ingratitude. This is the key to  graciously alerting them to the need for change or even being the influence that changes their behavior.

The conference in Indianapolis has gone well. I’m grateful. It has been good to see many friends from around the country whose lives have shaped mine in the stewardship space. I fly home this afternoon.

May God continue to nurture “increased kindness” in me and all those reading this, so that together we help even the ungrateful and wicked to experience the generous love of God. Make it so, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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John Tillotson: Forbearance

Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:5

“A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than forbearance, that when the injury began on his part, the kindness should begin on ours.”

John Tillotson in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 294.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a context where people like Euodia and Syntyche would not get along with one another, he called for forbearance.

We don’t hear this word often in the States. Perhaps that’s a sign that our society needs more forbearance. It’s a combination of gentleness, patience, and mercy. It graciously holds back what may be deserved.

Recently I have heard a person who had been wronged by another say, “I am going to sue that person!” What if instead, when wronged we proclaimed with forbearance, “I am going to show kindness to that person!”

That’s what God did for us. He showed us mercy, forbearance, and kindness to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:1-4). Let us generously extend the same kindness and forbearance toward others and likewise aid them.

I don’t know about you but this exploration of kindness is killing me…in a good way! It reveals to me that it is easy to be generous with money or time, but it is much harder to die to selfish human tendencies.

Only when we die to this former way of living are we transformed into the likeness of Christ. Only then do we become conduits of God’s kindness and generosity. That’s what He desires for us. Have your way in us, LORD.

Today I deliver a workshop at Gathering First Fruits: National Summit on the Economics of Ministry on my book, Faith and Finances: A Stewardship Curriculum for Schools and Churches.

There are hundreds of people here. I’ve been blessed to see many friends here too. More than I can mention. And, I’m encouraged as a good group has registered to attend my workshop. Pray for receptive hearts today.

I am excited that one of my former Northern Seminary students, Eddie Smith, Sr., now a pastor of a church here in Indianapolis, will share in my workshop how the content shaped his life and the culture of His church.

Eddie was the student that insisted I create a workbook for individual study and for small groups at churches. His passion inspired the publishing of Good and Faithful: Ten Stewardship Lessons for Everyday Living.

The curriculum is for pastors and professors. The workbook and videos that stream freely is for every person on the planet. Seriously, fellow stewards in places like the Philippines, Egypt, and Australia have gone through it.

I commend it to everyone, everywhere, and encourage churches all over the world to use it as a tool for growing good and faithful stewards. Have you gone through it? Click the link above to check it out.

Don’t miss the message of today’s post with the details of my travel and service! When wronged, as followers of Christ, let us return kindness. That’s forbearance! It’s the power of good that overcomes the evil around us.

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L. Carroll Judson: Kindness, prudence, and goodness

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

“Conquer your enemies with kindness, preserve your friends by prudence, deserve the esteem of all by goodness.”

L. Carroll Judson in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 226.

If you like short meditations that take a long time, perhaps even a lifetime to grasp, then try to lean into this one. There are three distinct layers to it.

Each layer points the opposite direction of human tendency. We try to conquer our enemies. We take our friends for granted, and we demand respect by view of our earned rank.

What if we did the opposite? We would overcome evil and conquer enemies with good. We would nurture friendships with care, and greatness would link to humble service.

Notice the combination: kindness, prudence, and goodness. Goodness, of course is a synonym for generosity. It’s as if this post sums up our exploration over the past two weeks.

With prudence, or in modern terms, with intentional care, let us extend kindness and generosity to all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In so doing we will build bridges with enemies, strengthen bonds with friends, and any esteem that returns to us will glorify God who empowers our service and fuels our giving.

Today I fly to Indianapolis to speak at Gathering First Fruits: National Summit on the Economics of Ministry tomorrow. I’d appreciate your prayers for strength, safe travel, and Spirit-filled service. Thank you.

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John Hinton: Do yourself a kindness

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

“Relieving distress is doing one’s self a kindness, because it engages others to relieve us, on the like occasion.”

John Hinton in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 197.

Today’s Scripture is known as “the golden rule” because Jesus uses this statement to sum up the heart of the Old Testament teachings. It proclaims how people should treat each other.

Ever think of showing kindness as doing yourself a favor? That’s precisely Hinton’s point today. Show others how you want to be treated by how you treat them. But not everyone gets this.

Only when we follow it, do we do ourselves a kindness because only then do we position ourselves to be blessed as we have blessed others. What’s the point for us as we think about generosity?

Bless others the way you want them to bless you. Jesus tells us that the measure we chose for others will be used on us (Matthew 7:2), so be sure not to be miserly!

Do yourself a kindness. Be hilariously generous.

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Arthur Helps: Firefly

Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24

“Always say a kind word if you can, if only that it may come in, perhaps, with singular opportuneness, entering some mournful man’s darkened room, like a beautiful firefly, whose happy circumvolutions he cannot but watch, forgetting his many troubles.”

Arthur Helps (1813-1875) in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 475.

Kind words are little gifts wrapped in letters and filled with goodness. Anyone can share them, regardless of their measure of wealth. They cause people, momentarily, to forget their troubles and experience the love of Christ.

I am becoming convinced of something in this recent exploration of kindness. This is an area in which we can all grow, but only if we attune to how the Spirit wants to extend kindness through us.

Think for a moment about sharing kind words. If you do it this morning, because God’s economy is abundant, you don’t run out of kind words. God can still supply an abundance to share in the afternoon and evening.

There is unkindness all around us. Sometimes (God forgive us) we cause it due to our human sinfulness. What should we do? Let’s resolve to dispense kind words, like fireflies, wherever we go.

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Julia L. Dumont: Thoughtful, considerate, and anticipatory

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24

“How beautiful is that kindness which is always thoughtful, considerate, and anticipatory; which busies itself with contributing to the good of others, which thinks beforehand what their wants are to be, and how they may be met most pleasantly and efficiently; which thus sows the seeds of happiness and progress along the commonest waysides of life, and sheds an influence of refreshment and peace on all the circle.”

Julia L. Dumont (1794-1857) in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 475. It’s been snowing where we live. This is a shot of our townhouse with a blanket of snow (pictured above).

Kindness positions us to bless others wherever we go. Dumont illustrates this blessing with graphic images and words. It appears as “thoughtful, considerate, and anticipatory.”

The thoughtful aspect thinks of the needs of others. The considerate part acts on their behalf. And, as for the anticipatory element, it knows just when and how to minister to others best.

We appear as sowers, diligently sowing to multiply blessings. By the way, if you do not have my book, The Sower: Redefining the Ministry of Raising Kingdom Resources, reply and I will email you a free PDF copy.

Lord, make our generosity “thoughtful, considerate, and anticipatory” so that its timing is right, its impact precise, and so that our sowing influences others for you. Do this we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Thomas Gisborne: Reason and Kindness

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me — that is a kindness; let him rebuke me — that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Psalm 141:3-5

“The language of reason, unaccompanied by kindness, will often fail of making an impression; it has no effect on the understanding, because it touches not the heart. The language of kindness, unassociated with reason, will frequently be unable to persuade; because, though it may gain upon the affections, it wants that which is necessary to convince the judgment; but let reason and kindness be united in a discourse, and seldom will even pride or prejudice find it easy to resist.”

Thomas Gisborne (1758-1846) in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 475.

Ever feel like you are not getting through when communicating to a person or an audience. What if you add kindness to reason? Gisborne offers this helpful advice for us for touching even the toughest audience.

His counsel mirrors the words of the psalmist today. The righteous can deliver a message that may hit hard, but when delivered with careful lips, it will be received as a kindness.

Perhaps there is something you need to say to someone or some group? Keep watch over your words. I sometimes speak then think. Don’t do that. Pause to listen with empathy. Then, put on kindness, speak, and see what happens.

We may have generous reasoning or instruction to share with individuals or groups, but if the message is not coupled with kindness, our efforts may amount to no more than a waste of time and energy.

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George Augustus Henry Sala: Watchful kindness

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:2-6

“In the intercourse of social life, it is by little acts of watchful kindness recurring daily and hourly — and opportunities of doing kindnesses if sought for are ever starting up — it is by words, by tones, by gestures, by looks, that affection is won and preserved. He who neglects these trifles, yet boasts that whenever a great sacrifice is called for, he shall be ready to make it, will rarely be loved. The likelihood is, he will not make it; and if he does it will be much rather for his own sake than for his neighbor’s.”

Perkins in Day’s Collacon, compiled and arranged by Edward Parsons Day (New York: IPPO, 1884) 475.

Sala uses a good term “watchful kindness” to describe how we have opportunities all the time to show kindness to others, and to reveal our others-centered Christian faith.

For those seeking to grow the kindness in their generosity, he offers a good list: words, tones, gestures, and looks. With these devices we can dispense kindness.

What’s interesting about this is that when we “neglect these trifles” as Sala puts it, we reveal that maybe our actions are really just for ourselves rather than others.

The Apostle Paul would suggest to add prayer to the mix. This way, the Spirit of God will guide you and bless others through you as you serve as an agent of watchful kindness.

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