by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2013
“The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.” (Acts 28:2 NASB)
The stranded party became recipients of something unexpected and unusual—a compassion and generosity that went beyond normal concern for mankind. It was a sincere love that manifested itself through a tangible selfless action. Remember that all of the ship’s supplies were previously dumped overboard in the sea. The rain would have made the trees and branches on the island soggy and difficult to ignite. After greeting the group, the natives could have walked away leaving Paul and the others to fend on their own or delivered some timber to the crew letting them struggle to light a fire. Instead, the Maltese extended a helping hand in a way that surprised the weary, wet travelers.
A similar demonstration of extraordinary kindness is described in the parable of the good Samaritan. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’” (Luke 10:30, 33-35 NIV) A total stranger attended to the distressed person’s immediate need then went above and beyond seeing to his physical comfort and long-term care.
As “sent ones” Jesus instructs us to look for “persons of peace” on our mission journey. They will be individuals who not only offer hospitality but also put forth the extra effort to serve us. Caring deeply for our well-being is an indicator of their openness to hear the Gospel message. “But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Luke 10:5-9 NKJV)
KESHER PRAYER (connection): “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7 NKJV) Lord, I come before you with a humble heart and as a willing servant seeking only to be an instrument of your love. Please give me discernment to see those whom the Holy Spirit is already preparing to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen!