93 days of summer / spirituality #4 1/2
Just ahead of finishing up our ‘spirituality’ series, we thought we’d fit in a brief talk about summer, your plans for it, and why it’s important to schedule more than vacations and rest.
There are officially 93 days of summer. June 21-September 21. It creeps us on us quickly, and unfortunately rushes out just as fast. Like a great night on the town or a concert watching your favaourite band, summer ends too quickly. In Canada we don’t think about summer as 93 days, let’s face it, we think about July & August. Sure, we get teased with some nice weather before hand, and some warm weather in September and October, but July & August are our summer months and we try and get the most out of them.
Some of us are planners. We plan every day of the summer. We know what’s coming, how much it will cost, and how to make the best of it. Others of us just let the summer happen, hoping that we can have a little fun and rest somewhere along the way.
Other than the vacations you’ve planned, the rest you’re hoping for, the fun you’ve written into your calendar, will you think about intentionally adding two more words to your summer?
Here’s our summer challenge: Two Months / Two Words. Kindness & Hospitality.
Following up last week’s conversation on the Fruit of the Spirit, we can honestly focus on any one of those words. Kindness, perhaps more than the others, surprises people the most. What you’ll notice with Kindness, as with the others, is that it’s something we receive from God and then extend it forward to others.
There are 56 references to kindness in the Scripture (link)
In the Old Testament, some are in reference to memory, some are reciprocal (as in, ‘you showed me kindness so I will show you kindness’), like a returning gift. We often see God showing kindness even though we (Israel) don’t deserve it.
In the New Testament it shows up in various forms. In Acts 4, healing is seen an act of kindness from God and the one praying, In Acts 17 God’s kindness is seen in the form of provision, In Acts 28 we read, The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. This is evidence of the good in people – it’s there, we just have to discover it. Romans 2 says that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance. In Colossians 3 it’s seen as a piece of clothing we put on. Titus 3 may be a favourite, 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
So…how do we ensure that kindness gets deep within us? Take time this summer to read and pray through those texts of scripture that focus on God’s kindness. Take some time, while on vacation, while at the beach, while at the cottage, during early morning sunrises or late evening sun sets…to think about God’s kindness to you. Be thankful for how God expresses this kindness towards you and the world around you. Then, as you’re reflecting on that…will you creatively think about how you can be kind to others? This might take a bit of prayer and bit of thoughtful creativity. Be looking, in every moment you find yourself in, for ways to be kind to others – those you love and those who are harder to love.
Why Hospitality? Because it’s showed to us and then flows out of us, just like kindness!
We read these straight forward words in Romans 12, Practice hospitality.
The writer of Hebrews (13) says, Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
3 John 1 says, We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
1 Peter 4 says this, 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
In my home province of Quebec, on June 24, they celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day. As you can imagine, like most holidays, It’s used for stuff like fireworks, a day at the beach, lots of parties with lots of “fun”, etc. But listen to what John the Baptist actually said…(Luke 3:11) “Anyone who has two shirts should share with one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
It’s pretty evident that this is our calling as followers of Christ – In light of the hospitality shown to us by God, we should in turn be hospitable to others.
How can you be kind and hospitable this summer? How can you extend God’s grace to others? Think about at least 4 places to live out these words
- home (sometimes the toughest place to show this)
- neighbourhood (walk across the street, invite someone to your home)
- work (talk to that guy or girl who no one else pays much attention too)
- church community (pray about who may need something that you have abundance of)
Be intentional about it, plan it, do it, and see what God does with it.
Intention opens the door to forward motion. (Seth Godin)
So, as you plan your summer vacation, your days at the beach, your R&R events…can you add these two words your summer story: KINDNESS & HOSPITALITY. Who knows, maybe it’ll turn out to be the best summer you’ve ever had!