Amidst all the carnage of bad news stories and accusations, anger, and slander that’s filling the news, here’s a good news story that happened to us tonight.
I was taking a shower when the front door knocked. Susan opened the door and in front of her stood a stranger. A man slightly older than middle-aged introduced himself. He was filling his car up with petrol at the service station about 800m from our home when he noticed a letter on the ground.
The envelope was addressed to me and it had been torn open. He noticed the letterhead and thought it must be important. It read ‘Australian Army’.
He handed the letter to Susan and explained where he found it. He also shared, that according to his wife, that missing mail has become an issue in our local community. Apparently, there are persons walking our streets at the moment and helping themselves to mail. Australia Post, take note!
For a moment I thought, what other mail has been stolen. It’s not that we get many letters anymore, but obviously, it’s even fewer than we are meant to receive. I also thought, maybe that’s what happened to Chris Watkin’s, ‘Biblical Critical Theory’. The publishers have twice sent me a free copy and twice the book has never arrived. If anything, maybe these letters (and book) thieves will open Chris’ volume and read it!
As it happened, the letter is important to us. There are in fact two letters. You see, our eldest son recently joined the Australian army and he’s now serving his country as a soldier. We are very proud of the decision he made. The letters are from our son’s Company and Platoon commanders, introducing themselves and providing families with information about their children and the basic training they are currently undertaking.
I didn’t have a chance to meet or thank this stranger, although Susan explained the letter’s significance and thanked him. Susan called to me and so I grabbed a towel and came out, water dripping. She handed over a tattered envelope.
What a kind act. This man wasn’t obliged to pick up the letter, come to our home and hand it to us. He’s probably on his way home after work and has responsibilities to attend. And yet, he decided to go out of his way to give us this important correspondence.
I doubt if our special postman will ever read this blog post, but if you do, thank you. Our family appreciates your kindness toward us.
This simple gesture of kindness reminds me of what God’s kindness is like. He doesn’t show kindness because we first smiled or because we’ve completed our ‘good deeds’ for the day. That’s not how God works.
“He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17)
God showers us with kindness in small and big ways, and especially in sending us the good news message of his Son, the Lord Jesus.
The news across Melbourne today is a stark reminder of a lot of ugliness that mars our city and that churns and turns people against each other. Tonight Susan and I received a wonderful reminder that kindness can also be found.
As we approach Easter, I’m also thinking about how much we need God’s kindness, the kind of tenderness and concern that God loves to express. How amazing it is that this Divine kindness is given to those who are lacking righteousness. God is kind to those who are unkind, he shows love toward those who are unloving, and he gives grace to the guilty.
The Bible urges us to avoid contempt, “do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
Instead of turning our backs on our Creator, perhaps we should reconsider the extent to which God is kind toward us. As the Apostle Paul says of all who accept God’s message of life,
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him 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)