When I was a kid, my mother was a widow, raising three kids and manytimes without a job. When my grandmother, also a widow, sold the family farm, she would often take all five of us out to dinner. I remember one time my mother and grandmother were “arguing” over who would pay the $10 bill for all five of us at Bill’s Restaurant at Parker Plaza in Weatherford (remember the days when five people could eat for $10 at a restaurant?).
I don’t remember how old I was but my grammar wasn’t the greatest and I piped up and said, “Mama, let Nonna pay, she’s gots more money than we gots!”
The word we are studying this week, kindness, reminded me of that story so let’s look at the word, but not in English but in the New Testament Greek.
The word kindness in the Greek is crestotes and is sometimes translated as kindness or goodness and has the root of someone who loans someone else money or lets someone borrow something.
Kindness began with God.
Eph. 2:7 tells us that one of these days, God is going to show us just how much he has to share with us in his free gift of his fabulous wealth and just how good and kind he has been to us in Jesus Christ. That verse leads into how we are saved based on how good God is and not how good we are (quite frankly because we are not that good).
Paul does the same thing when he was writing his young pastor protégé, Titus. God’s kindness and love combined with His mercy, Paul wrote in Titus 3:4-6, and again there is an abundance flowing from God.
In Romans 2:4, again Paul uses the word crestotes twice in one verse, explaining that it is the riches of God’s goodness and kindness that leads us to change our ways. It is like we live next door to a guy who has all of the tools in the world and rather than us trying to go out and buy all those same tools ourselves, the neighbor comes over and gives us the keys to His tool shed and says, “Don’t go out and buy all these things yourself. Just use mine.”
God doesn’t want us to use our own kindness because He knows on our own, we don’t have that much. Romans 3:12 says that “there are none who do goodness and kindness; no, not one.” He also says in that same verse that everyone has become unprofitable, worthless, useless.
Our neighbor, God, has the tools including His kindness and goodness, that if we were to try to get the same amount of “tools” we would go broke, become unprofitable, and once we got home, they would appear worthless compared with what God has to share with us.
But there is another variation of the word crestotes that is used in the New Testament that is surprising in how it is translated; no, it’s not rendered “good” or “kind” but it is translated “easy”.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For My yoke is easy (crestos) and my burden light.”
Jesus used the word again in Luke 6:35, “Lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind (crestos) to the unthankful and evil.”
When we study the word kindness, and see how it comes from borrowing from someone else, it’s not that we are being a moocher from God and taking advantage of His offer to use His tools of kindness and goodness.
It’s that “He’s gots” more kindness than we do and He is giving us His keys to use the wealth of His toolshed of kindness anytime we need His storehouse of tools.