Everyone Can Do Something

You may have heard the saying, “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” This was certainly true of the Hebrews who had returned to Jerusalem from exile and were led by Nehemiah to rebuild the broken walls.

The entire third chapter of Nehemiah lists family after family and details which section of the wall each family worked on. When it became apparent that the people needed to be vigilant against military threats while they did the work, they divided up responsibilities and worked twice as hard.

Nehemiah says, “I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows.  When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.’”

No individual family in Israel could have rebuilt the wall or protected the city in the meantime. It was only possible because so many individuals stepped up and did their part. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

Sometimes, like Elijah when he despaired before God that he had failed as a prophet, we feel like we have to do everything ourselves or face utter failure. The truth is that if we each do what we are individually capable of, God’s kingdom can thrive and grow.

At other times, we may feel that whatever we can personally contribute to the kingdom is so insignificant that it is essentially worthless. We must be reminded of what Jesus said about a poor widow who gave two small coins to the Lord: ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

The job of Elijah was not to singlehandedly restore God’s nation to righteousness all on his own. He simply had to be faithful and do his part, and God would raise up 7,000 others to help him. The job of the poor widow was not to climb the corporate ladder and give large sums of money each year to charity. She simply had to live her own life and use her own resources in a way that glorified God.

No single person who reads this article can fix the whole world or do all of the work in the kingdom. But each of us can live our lives in a way that makes the world a better place. We can use our lives as votes for justice, righteousness, and truth. We can treat others the way that we would want to be treated.

In the parable of the talents, the man with only one talent did not get in trouble because he only had one talent. He got in trouble because he did not use it.

Maybe you are good at talking to strangers and acquaintances about God, or conducting Bible studies. Maybe you have a gift for speaking the truth in love and holding your brothers and sisters accountable when they stray. Maybe you are good at preaching or teaching, or at encouraging others with smiles, kind words, food, cards, visits, or phone calls. Maybe you have a passion for acts of service and charity. Maybe you can give a lot of money.

Maybe some days you do not feel like you are good at any of those things. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. But what God asks of us, and what He asked of the families mentioned in Nehemiah, and what He asked of Elijah, and of the poor widow with the two little coins, is that we just do what we can. If we all do that, great things will happen.

Scriptures and Thoughts on “Kindness”

What is kindness and what does it look like?
Old Testament
Hesed – occurs 250 times – mercy, kindness, loving-kindness. 42 times it is stated that God’s hesed endures forever. God desires a people to be the object of His hesed.

New Testament
Agathos – goodness, that which is good
Epikei – mildness, gentleness, and fairness
Pilanthropia – benevolence towards others
Chrestos – graciousness, goodness – this is the word most often translated as kindness. It is listed as a fruit of the Spirit.

Some occurrences of Chrestos:

(Romans 11:22) “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”
(Titus 3:4-5) “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Kindness is often translated from words associated with goodness, so I get the sense that kindness is not only a description of what is merciful or gentle, but also that which is fitting and right.

(Ruth 2:20) – what Boaz did was merciful, but also fitting and right. This would also be true in our example of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9.

In English, it comes from the same word as kin, or kind as in “what kind of person are you?”

What are some easy ways to be kind to others?
(Galatians 6:2) “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Seizing opportunities: (Galatians 6:10) “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” What opportunities arise from day to day?

Sharing resources: (1 John 3:17) “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

(Acts 20:35) “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Kind words: (Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Acts of service: (Matthew 25) “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Should I be kind even when I do not feel like it?
Yes, it is the right thing to do.

(Proverbs 3:3-4) “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.”

(Colossians 3:12) “put on a heart of…kindness” and (Ephesians 4:32) “Be kind to one another” both command kindness from us.

(Micah 6:8) The LORD requires of us that we love kindness.
(Luke 6:35) God Himself is kind to the ungrateful and evil.
(1 Peter3:9) “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

How can I be kind when I do not feel like it?
(Proverbs 11:7) “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Realize that it is in your own best interest to be kind.

(Proverbs 3:3-4) also indicate that this will result in favor from God and man. See (1 Peter 3:9) as well.

(Ephesians 4:15) Speak the truth in love. Examine your motivation, and if it is love, act from that source.
(Philippians 2:3-4) “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

(Luke 6:35) Recount how God has been kind to you.

 What is an act of kindness that was done to you that you remember?

What is an act of kindness that you have been privileged to do for another?

 What is the proper motivation for kindness?
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient and kind”
1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”