Wednesday, April 20, 2022

          Mephibosheth is one of the Bible names and characters that we can easily run past or even forget about altogether.  His name is both big and a bit odd.  Not many new born babies today are named after him.  But you may recall his name.  His father was Jonathan—David’s best friend.  And his grandfather was Saul—the first king of Israel.  Both Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle according to I Samuel 31.  Their deaths led the way for David to ascend to the throne and become the new and second king of Israel just as God had chosen and ordained him for that role.  In 2 Samuel 9, then King David asked if there was anyone still left alive from the house of Saul.  David wanted to show kindness to such a person “for Jonathan’s sake.”  The answer came back to David that Mephibosheth was still alive.  But Jonathan’s surviving son was “crippled in both feet.”  2 Samuel 4:4 tells us that a very young Mephibosheth was dropped as a child and this accident led to his paralyzed or crippling condition.
            But David sent for Mephibosheth and had him brought to the palace.  Then David gave his best friend’s son a grant of land that had once belonged to Saul and promised him a place at the royal table where he would be free to eat every meal.  2 Samuel 9:11 says that Mephibosheth became like a son to David.  This simple act of kindness blessed and changed both Mephibosheth and David.  This crippled man would have the security of a home, land, food and the friendship of the king.  And David was able to repay a debt of honor for all the devotion and loyalty that his beloved friend Jonathan had shown to him over the life of their friendship.
            There was a phenomenon a few years ago where people practiced “random acts of kindness.”  Maybe you did that.  Maybe you received some kindness from others unexpectedly and anonymously.  Showing kindness never goes out of style.  Kindness is like a sharp, pinstriped suit or a white bridal gown.  Kindness always has a place.  And kindness is noticed.  In 2 Peter 2:12, the old fisherman turned disciple tells us that kindness can capture the attention of unbelievers and even pagans.  Kindness can compel others to want to know the reason for what we are doing.  And when that happens, we can bring glory to God by sharing our faith and speaking about the One who is the greatest demonstrator of kindness.  We can draw others to Jesus simply by being kind to them.
            Perhaps you would make showing kindness a personal mission project.  You can do that in simple, creative and inexpensive ways.  David chose to pay forward the debt of kindness that he owed to Jonathan.  When he could no longer bless and thank his best friend, David then did the next best thing by blessing the son Mephibosheth.  Kindness works.  Kindness changes both the bestower and the recipient.  Remember that kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22) that He is working to produce in the lives of all who call themselves followers of Jesus.  One of the best ways to show kindness is to think of the ways others have expressed kindness to you.  Pay that forward and let others be blessed by what you have done.  Most of us would agree that kindness is in short supply these days.  Anger, impatience, discord and bitterness seem to grab the headlines and often drive our decisions and responses.  But we can train ourselves and discipline ourselves to grow in kindness.  No one does this perfectly all the time.  But we can earnestly seek God’s help to be more generous with our kindness.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!  Invite others to worship with us anytime at      
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