Loving Lord, You are the Master of things great and small. I’m grateful Your grace is sufficient for all things.
Read ACTS 28:1-16
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Publius showed hospitality and kindness to Paul and his fellow travelers, and his people followed his lead. I am sure that many visitors to our churches would love to find a similar kindness and hospitality.
Today’s reading is filled with practical kindnesses. The islanders were unusually kind in preparing a welcoming fire for the cold, soaking survivors. Paul gathered firewood to keep the flames alight. Publius, the chief official, showed generous hospitality for three days. Paul offered prayer and healing to Publius’s father, who was suffering the ravages of fever and dysentery (Malta fever could last for months or years). Paul (and probably Luke, the physician) healed or gave medical attention to those who were ill. Islanders provided Paul’s party with necessary provisions as they departed. Believers in Puteoli provided hospitality for a week. Some Roman believers traveled 43 miles to the Forum of Appius, and others walked 33 miles to the Three Taverns (stopping places on the five-day walk to Rome from Puteoli) to welcome and encourage Paul. The Roman authorities allowed Paul to live out of prison, in accommodation with a guard.
Good deeds are not the prerogative of Christians alone. Many outside the faith put us to shame by their kind, generous actions. Jesus demonstrated God’s love for humanity, not just by dying for our sins and proclaiming Good News, but by practical mercy to those in need of food, healing, deliverance or safety in storms.
It is often easier for us to do good to those who belong to the family of believers (and they are to be our priority) but Paul encourages us, as we have opportunity, to do good to all people (Gal. 6:10). That includes strangers and foreigners, the hungry, sick, imprisoned, elderly, disabled, mentally ill, single parents and children–wherever there is opportunity. Who is our neighbor (Luke 10:29-37)? Or are we too busy in our nice safe enclaves which protect us and our families to extend Jesus’ mercy to others? Many people in our world need to see God’s mercy in action by our practical kindness.
Find at least one situation today where you will show some practical kindness–no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Gracious Lord, I ask for a new sensitivity towards the people I meet. May kindness and hospitality flow through me to them.