Luke, in this closing of Acts, writes of one central, one essential quality, kindness.
The centurion Julius is kind to Paul as they begin to sail to Rome. And this kindness leads to Julius’ saving of Paul’s and all the other prisoners’ lives as they shipwreck.
And now Lune sees the islanders of Malta’s love, their kindness….
28 ‘Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.’
Kindness is love’s conduct. It’s how love behaves. These two words are sometimes put together. For example, Psalm 18: 35 NKJ talks of how the Lord’s ‘gentleness’ or ‘stooping’ makes us great. Our Lord loves us and expresses his love kindly, in kindness.
What then is kindness? Well, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘lovingkindness’. John Murray tells us that kindness is, ‘loving kindness, the dispensing of favour.’
Julius and Malta’s islanders; act kindly. Just as our Jesus, daily does on life.