GENESIS 24: HOW KIND ARE YOU?
Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. (Gen. 24:14 ESV)
Aged Abraham, whose son Isaac is now 40, seeks a wife for Isaac. But as he looks around at all the Canaanite girls, he sees none suitable for him. So he asks his most trusted servant to make a trip back home to find a hometown girl for Isaac. It’s no small “ask.” The journey was more than 500 miles and would have taken the servant more than 20 days.
But even greater than the challenge of the trip is the challenge of the selection of a wife. What should the servant look for? What criteria should be the basis of his pick? How does he choose a wife for Isaac?
When he arrives he parks his 10 camels and himself at the local well and he determines the sole criteria that will form the basis of his selection. It’s been an extraordinarily long, hot and dusty journey. So, the woman who gives him a cool cup of water in response to his request, and who offers to quench the thirst of his camels without any request–she’ll be the one God’s handpicked. A dehydrated camel could drink as much as 40 gallons. It’d take quite a woman to make such an offer! And Rebekah was the one.
What the servant sought was simply kindness. Radical, sacrificial, selfless kindness. Kindness that gave a thirsty man a drink. Kindness that offered tired camels refreshment. Kindness would be the single trait that would define whether or not God’s hand was on this woman.
What might change around us if kindness became the key criteria we sought in those we dated, married, hired, and partnered with? What could be enlightened if kindness became number one on the checklist of requirements we sought in a mentor, a friend, a coach? And how would our contribution improve if kindness became one of the primary qualities we brought into every relationship and organization?
Father, thank you for your steadfast love and kindness. Help me to seek that, above all, in the people around me today. Help me to show that, above all, to the people around me today.
What does kindness demand of you today?
Chris is a spiritual director, the author of seven books, a father to Jordan and Jacob, a husband to Kendra, and has preached for the Highland Church of Christ in the Memphis, Tennessee area since 1998.