Bible Reading: Proverbs 14:21, 31
He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. … He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:21, 31, NIV
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE’S famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, tells the story of Tom and Eliza and other slaves of the South during the years prior to the American Civil War. Part of the book also features a character named Eva, a little girl whose mother complains constantly of sickness and trouble. In one chapter, Eva’s mother is complaining about her slave, Mammy, because, she says, “I think it’s selfish of her to sleep so sound nights; she knows I need little attentions almost every hour, when my worst turns are on, and yet she’s so hard to wake. I absolutely am worse, this very morning, for the efforts I had to make to wake her last night.”
Her little daughter, Eva, later asks, “Mamma, couldn’t I take care of you one night—just one?”
“Oh, nonsense, child,” her mother answers.
“But may I, Mamma? I think,” she says in a low voice, “that Mammy isn’t well. She told me her head ached all the time lately.”
The reader soon learns that Eva seems to be as kind as her mother is thoughtless and selfish. Little Eva even proposes letting the slave Mammy share Eva’s bed, “because then it would be handier to take care of her, and because, you know, my bed is better than hers.”
What a lovely picture of kindness! And what a reminder that kids are often kinder than adults. And what a perfect description of what the Bible means when it says, “blessed is he who is kind to the needy … whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:21, 31, NIV). In fact, the word blessed in Proverbs 14:21 means “to be honored and made happy by God.” So you could say that the person who is kind honors God, and God honors the person who is kind.
REFLECT: Who are you most like: Eva or her mom? Who are the “needy” people around you? (They don’t have to be homeless or poor; they may simply need affection, attention, or comfort.) How can you be kind to the “needy” today?
PRAY: “God, I believe your Word when it says, ‘blessed is he who is kind to the needy’ and ‘whoever is kind to the needy honors God.’ I want to honor you today, especially by being kind to____________. Help me find ways to be kind.”