Sunday, July 25, 2010
Bird Devotional 76
"The fruit of the Spirit... is kindness." Galatians 5:22
The common English word, "kindness," is well understood by everyone. We all know that the word means to show compassion to other people. In fact, it is not possible to exhibit kindness without some sort of interaction with others. The Cedar Waxwing can be used to exemplify kindness because it is a bird that is constantly interacting with others of its species. I have seen thousands of Cedar Waxwings over the years, but I have never seen one by itself. Always found in groups, Cedar Waxwings travel together in search of food. When one bird finds a tree laden with fruit, it shares the bounty with the rest of the flock. They are famous for their habit of lining up on a tree branch and passing a fruit from beak to beak until it reaches the last bird. What an awesome example of kindness!
The Book of Galatians uses the image of fruit to describe nine aspects of the nature of God. These spiritual fruit can also be present in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). There are many Bible passages that show us God's kindness. In the Book of Luke we learn that His kindness is not reserved just for those who follow Him: "Love your enemies... Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35). The highest expression of God's kindness to us is that He sent His Son into the world. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6-7). Kindness... an interesting behavioral trait in birds... a wonderful attribute in humans... and a gift of God's grace through Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Father, for your gift of kindness to us through Christ Jesus. Amen.