Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why Christians are Compelled to Serve

Down through the centuries the followers of Christ have set examples of being kind through their service to humanity all over the world. Numerous hospitals, orphanages, schools and colleges in places where there was no health care and proper education are examples of kindness that is integral to the followers of Christ.
Kindness is love in action. In 1 Corinthians 13:4 Saint Paul wrote, "Love is patient and is kind...." If Christian love is a coin, then patience and kindness are the two sides of that coin. A coin cannot exist unless it has two sides! This also means that the real kindness proceeds from the real love. What type of love would produce kindness?
First of all, there is contemplative love, where love is a feeling. This love, seeks and cherishes all that is lovable. Human beings has the tremendous capacity to love anything even animals of different kinds. Humans are the only creatures who keep pets! It does not move beyond the thoughts or feelings of love to action. Contemplative love is thus impotent. Sudhiir Kakar retells the story of dog-couple in one of his books. One day the bitch was killed and its body was lying on the road. Its partner came along and saw the lifeless body of his partner, sniffed it and then walked away. Later that dog was found in the company of another bitch. Contemplative love is nothing beyond the love this dog showed. The followers of Christ who busied themselves in serving humanity cherished a love that springs in to action.
Secondly, there is the congenial love which is love for the things that a person likes or of the same kind. Congenial love cannot love persons of different likes, looks or class. Though congenial love may be lavished on the persons whom we like, particularly our own people it does not go beyond cross the barrier of race, culture or language. It may also express itself as xenophobia. The disciples of Jesus who travelled across the nations to serve the poor and the needy of people other than their own showed a different type of love.
Thirdly, there is the outgoing love. This love goes beyond feelings to action, is not limited to people of ones like, and looks. God, by loving the entire fallen humanity shows this love. As Jesus puts it, he is a God who "... makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust" (Matt 5:48). God's love is outgoing love, which Jesus exemplifies. Jesus' miracles were not merely displays of his power but acts of kindness, which spring from his outgoing love. Jesus did not just feel sorry for the sick (contemplative love), but he healed the sick (act of kindness). Jesus did not heal only the Jews (his own people) but all sorts of people. It included Samaritans (Luke 17), Syrophoenicians (Mark 7:26), Romans (Matthew 8) and all.
This is the secret of kindness, which is the Fruit of the Spirit; an outgoing love which God's only Son showed by his coming to a people who are not his kind, rendering service which they did not deserve and dying a death which they should have died! This explains acts of kindness followers of Christ showed and should be the model for Christians today.

Life and Light

'For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light' Psalm 36:9.   When David sang to God, 'For with you ...