By Tim Seevers
I have been the recipient of a lot of kindness over the years. I remember being away from home when the battery in our van went dead. A man came up the alley near where we had parked our van and noticed I was having trouble.
I wasn’t expecting a lot of help. He was shirtless, had long hair, and several tattoos. I had already pre-judged him. He checked things out and then went back to get some tools and brought along his son who was toting a battery. He proceeded to replace my battery with one he had taken from one of his vehicles.
I offered to pay him but he refused, only asking that if I found someone in need I should pass the kindness on. Alexander Maclaren wrote, “Kindness makes a person attractive. If you would win the world, melt it, do not hammer it.” He won me over that day and I have learned not to judge a book by its cover.
The occupants of Malta showed unusual kindness to Paul and the others whose ship had been grounded. Much like me, they probably didn’t expect a lot from the islanders. After all, there were prisoners who were now among them. And that is precisely why it was unusual. I don’t know many who would go out of their way to welcome prisoners. Instead, we may pass by on the other side, as far away as possible, like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The residents of Malta were different. Their kindness led to generous hospitality. Letty M. Russell wrote, “Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.”
Hospitality often opens the door to ministry. It did for Paul, and it will do the same for us. Peter said, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”
(1 Peter 4:9, 10).
Tim Seevers is the senior minister of the Sherman Church of Christ in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. He and his wife, Peggy, have three adult children and six grandchildren.