Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Oil of Kindness

Courtesy. Kindness. How often these characteristics are lacking in today's society! Often I've deplored this state of things, remembering with a stab of nostalgia when the customer was always right, and when strangers exchanged a smile or greeting when their paths crossed. Too often these days a smile is regarded with suspicion; we think twice before striking up a conversation with a stranger, for iniquity abounds and who knows where such things will lead?

This morning I came across a passage in the devotional Streams In the Desert, which speaks of the kindness we, as God's children, should exemplify towards all:

Put on as the elect of God, kindness (Col. 3:12).

There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him.

People called him eccentric and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found.

There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness. Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil of good cheer to the downhearted one--Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage to the despairing. Speak it.

Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again. The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the redeeming grace of our Saviour.

A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart. Therefore, "Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest."

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love" (Rom. 12:10).

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