Between leading First Cause and commanding the 104th Division, I average about two weeks of travel each month. Consequently, I have many opportunities to meet new people and experience the ups and downs of flying. Recently, I was in an airport and feeling hungry I purchased a large smoothie (a blended and chilled, sweet beverage made from fruit), before boarding the plane. I placed the drink on the side of my seat and then put my luggage in the compartment. Unfortunately, in the act of sitting down I knocked the cup over. Horror of horrors—dark, red liquid poured all over the carpeted floor.
Exceedingly embarrassed, I asked the flight attendant for some napkins and advice to best clean up the mess. She gave me a cactus-withering look and told me it was not her problem. But she did bring me napkins (not enough) and after much sponging with reinforcements from other attendants, I was able to dry up the surface until only the huge stain was left to remind me of my clumsiness. For the rest of the trip home, that flight attendant would not look me in the eye and even when she handed me peanuts I felt like an outcast before her aloof demeanor.
As the plane descended, I tried to think of something I could say to that woman. Should I ask her if she knew the meaning of kindness and forgiveness? Should I quietly whisper an apology and note that I felt sufficiently scolded? In the end, I just kept my mouth shut. I figured she was having a bad day and I was just one more reason why.
Proverbs 21:10—A wicked person desires evil; he has no consideration for his neighbor.
I don’t mean to imply that this woman was bad but she did make me think about what it means to be considerate. A self-absorbed person does not feel for others except when it is personally advantageous. Kindness requires setting aside my opinion and feelings to better help another. To be understanding towards one who is the source of need, cause of inconvenience or bringer of discomfort requires effort.
Paul wrote in Philippians 2:25,26—“But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus—my brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and minister to my need since he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was sick. Paul needed Epaphroditus. He was a vital friend and helper. But Paul looked beyond his needs to those of the Philippians. That’s what consideration is all about—looking past my needs to the needs of others. I meant to drink a smoothie, instead I absorbed from spillage. God help me to be kind when it’s my carpet that is stained by someone else’s mess.
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.—Saint Basil
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.—Aesop
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)