Pastor Dominic Cardamone
2 Samuel 9:1-13
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” – William Penn
In a world filled with evil and a media bent on elevating what’s grotesque, it’s refreshing to hear stories of kindness. I asked my wife what acts of kindness she recalled in her life. She said someone anonymously paid for her to attend Christian school for her last two years of schooling. She said that act of kindness changed the direction of her life. When I was in a severe car accident after my 20th birthday, my wife kept a notebook of the names of people who came to visit me in the hospital. There were over 200 names of family and friends in the notebook. Those simple acts of kindness ministered to us during a low point in our young married life together. On another occasion, we found ourselves without a place to live when we pulled into Lancaster, California, to finish up Bible college (it’s a long story). Another young married couple at the college (who we never met) let us sleep on their couch for a month until we could make other arrangements. Their kindness towards us forged a friendship we enjoy to this day. Acts of kindness both big and small (randomly picking up someone’s tab at the restaurant, dropping groceries off at a struggling family’s home, cutting your neighbor's grass, sitting silently with a friend who has just lost a loved one, etc.) have a tremendous impact. No doubt you could share a story of kindness imparted to you and how it has impacted your life.
We are commanded in Ephesians 4:32 to be “kind one to another.” In Colossians 3:12, we are told to “put on kindness” as the elect of God. And in 2 Peter 1:7, we are told that kindness is a component that must be added to our faith as we grow in Christ. In this 2 Samuel 9:1-13, we find the heart-warming account of David bestowing kindness and generosity on Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. What are some lessons we can learn from it and then implement in our own lives?
Relationship Was a Key Factor vs. 1,7 “for Jonathan’s sake”
The kindness of David toward Mephibosheth was based upon the relationship David had with his father, Jonathan. We will talk more about their relationship in the next point, but for now, it suffices to say that while there may have been other reasons why David did what he did, I believe the primary reason was based upon his relationship to the father. I think there is an important principle here. The root of kindness in my life should stem from my relationship to the Heavenly Father. Our kindness and generosity should be for “the father’s sake.” “The father’s sake” should be the motivation in my Christian walk and in what I do toward others. Do we treat people the way we do for the honor and glory of the Father? David was kind to Jonathan by being kind to Mephibosheth. We are kind toward God when we are kind toward people. All the law and the prophets hinge on these two principles… loving God and loving people. Additionally, our relationship with the Father defines us, and it should dictate what we do toward others. We should embody his nature and follow his example in this area. Be holy as he is holy… but also be kind as he is kind, generous as he is generous, forgiving as he is forgiving, etc. There may be times when I don’t feel like being kind or believe that someone deserves my kindness, but that’s why kindness must be founded on the relationship with the Father. David could have built an argument as to why he shouldn’t be kind to Mephibosheth, but when he remembered Jonathan, there was no question if he would be kind or not.
Remembrance Served as a Catalyst vs. 1,7 “for Jonathan’s sake”
The kindness of David toward Mephibosheth was prompted by David’s remembrance of the kindness of others toward him. It’s easy to forget and to become ungrateful and in turn be unkind. Several years have passed since the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle, but David is recorded here remembering the covenant between him and Jonathan and the blessing he was to him in his life. You can visit these scriptures to get a glimpse of this: see 1 Samuel 18:1-5, 1 Samuel 19:1-7, 1 Samuel 20:14-17, 1 Samuel 20:41-42, and 1 Samuel 23:14-18. While Saul was wrong toward David, Jonathan was not. Jonathan embraced, loved, and helped David. He served and strengthened him in the Lord. David did not allow the malicious mistreatment in one relationship (with Saul) to hinder his generosity toward another (with Jonathan). But chose rather to allow the kindness shown to him be the springboard from which he launched his act of kindness. Kindness should flourish from the fertile soil of remembered blessings. The unforgiving servant forgot the blessing of being forgiven his debt by the king and thus treated the fellow servant who was indebted to him unkindly (Matthew 18:21-35). Have you been treated well? Allow that to fuel your resolve to treat others the same.
Research Was Helpful vs. 1,3,4 “Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul?” “Where is he?” He made inquiries.
The kindness of David toward Mephibosheth came to fruition because of David’s research. David was kind and generous because he was looking for the opportunity to be kind and generous. He was not sulking in bitterness over how he was mistreated in the past. He took the initiative. He extended forgiveness and sought out a way to be a help and blessing. Neither was he just waiting to begrudgingly fulfill an obligation or to do justice. His attitude was in the right place and he was looking for opportunities to show genuine kindness. He was proactive and on the offensive. Kindness thrives off inquiry and sought-after opportunities. If you want to show kindness, do the research!
Isaiah 32:8, "But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand."
Rudiments of Practice vs. 6-8
The kindness of David toward Mephibosheth was deployed through deliberate and intentional action. David shows Mephibosheth great kindness. What did it look like? What tactics did he use or steps did he take to express his kindness? We can do the same. These verses demonstrate the following:
Attentiveness – He used his intuition and perceived that Mephibosheth would be afraid (for obvious reasons…only living family member of the previous monarch that was previously hostile toward David.) This attentiveness led him to calm Mephibosheth’s fears.
Affection – David treated Mephibosheth with respect, honored him, and loved him. He did not see him as worthless, useless, or a slave, etc. He was Saul and Jonathan’s descendant and as such treated him with decency.
Affirmation – He used his words and actions to affirm his kindness toward Mephibosheth. He encouraged his spirit.
Arrangements – He made arrangements for and tended to Mephibosheth’s needs. (He gave back his family lands, Ziba commissioned to work the land to Mephibosheth’s and his son’s profit, etc.)
Attendance – David desired for him to eat at his table. He wanted him to be with him and spend time with him. Presence is powerful and a great kindness!
Absence of Expectation – David’s approach was not, “I’ll scratch your back, and you scratch mine.” He helped someone who could do nothing in return for him (Mephibosheth was lame).