Today’s Scripture Selection: Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

It’s quite a list.

Right there in the middle of this wonderful description of what Paul calls the “fruit” of the Spirit – is something we might easily take for granted – a little kindness.

Be kind.  It almost sounds like something you might find embossed in gold on a fancy greeting card; sewn on a pillow by a saintly old grandma.  But is it, realistically, even possible in today’s “dog eat dog” world?

You bet it is.

Paul was not naïve. He was no stranger to danger or hardship.  He knew, firsthand, just how tough the world can be.

He suffered for his faith.  He died for it willingly.  His faith was real and anything but mere superficial sentimentality.

But still – he listed kindness, simple kindness, as part of the fruit of the Spirit.

He had not always been kind.  Before his conversion, he took his greatest pleasure in the persecution of the people of the Way.

Then it all changed.

Suddenly love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and kindness took center stage in his life.

He wanted to show that he was now a follower of this One he had once gleefully persecuted.

Be kind.  It’s anything but a sentimental message on a greeting card.  It’s a key part of being a Christ-follower.

It was in Paul’s day.  It still is today.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me how to always be kind, in your name.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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