Read Zechariah 7:1-14
KINDNESS – I am helpful and beneficial to others.
Spiritual disciplines can be a very important part of the Christian life. By “spiritual discipline,” I mean certain things that you and I do routinely in order to enhance our intimacy with God. Some of you reading these lines are participating in a “spiritual discipline” right now. Daily…perhaps at nearly the same time…you pause to read God’s words and these brief commentary thoughts. Spiritual disciplines include such things as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, and giving. These can play a vital part in your development in Christ.
In Zechariah’s day, the people knew the importance of such disciplines. In fact, some of them sent representatives to the priest, essentially asking, “Hey, are we still on with the annual fast this year?” While the Old Testament law outlined specific fasts to be observed, the Jews had, over the years, added others. This fifth month fast was one of those…and one they hadn’t missed for 70 years. But it had become just a ritual to be observed. They fasted for the wrong reasons.
That’s when God pointed them again to a discipline more obvious and foundational than fasting…the discipline of kindness:
“Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” (vv. 9, 10)
While they were more focused on fasting, God was more concerned about how they related to others. You see, they were to be helpful, beneficial, encouraging, and compassionate to one another.
If you have some familiarity with the Bible, this should be no surprise to you. Remember the Great Commandments? Love God with all your heart…Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22). Remember the man who illustrated what it was to love your neighbor? It was the man who demonstrated kindness by administering first aid and providing lodging and care for an injured man (Lk. 10). Your kindness is a mark of your maturity in Christ.
Don’t miss the boat today! Thankfully, you are engaging in an important spiritual discipline of Bible reading. As you head into the rest of the day and week, you can engage in the all important discipline of kindness.