2 Samuel 9:1 David asked, “Is there anyone remaining from Saul’s family I can show kindness to because of Jonathan? ”
I’m in the Chicago airport right now and have never seen it quite this congested. People moving by each other in opposing streams that sometimes mix awkwardly without so much as “excuse me.” Some meander in a sigh of unwanted wait while others zip by them with an “every second counts” urgency. I believe it’s in human congestion that Christianity has greatest potential to flourish. So many opportunities to consider others in more need, to take note of fatigue, stress, sadness in the faces of people, to pray for others like the guy who sat beside me on the flight here. He had an obvious staph infection. I could smell it. His foot was wrapped in an elastic bandage and he donned a medical sandal. I didn’t feel sorry for him; that sappy human compassion that operates out of ignorance and material-based guilt. Rather, I just watched for an opportunity to connect with him, to help any way I could and yes to pray for him, that his foot would be spared. Why? What is there in my nature or any human’s nature to do good for another with no thought of reward? From where does the desire to esteem and edify a stranger stem? I give that all to God.
Favor for a favor. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. They’re all examples of direct reciprocity. Humans are really good at that. But God is not only the author of “other-reciprocity” or transitive reciprocity, He is the Imparter. And it was evidently imparted to David. “Is there anyone I can show kindness to because of his service to me?” Nope. “…because of his potential?” Nope again. “…because of Jonathon” David asked. Yeah, David had been shown kindness by one and wished to extend it to another. Would Jonathon know or care? No. He was dead. Would broken-footed Mephibosheth have cared if David never considered him? No. He was in Lo-Debar and was in fact hoping he would never run into David. After all, he was of the wrong seed and on the wrong side, the grandson of the previous king who had attempted to murder David… more than once. But even though of the wrong seed, on the wrong side and with absolutely nothing to offer, David desired to be kind to this poor and lame man.
So it should be for us. I pray God alert me to Mephibosheths in my path to whom I can show God’s kindness… just because. After all, it was because of God that Christ showed me kindness even though I was of the wrong seed, on the wrong side and had absolutely nothing I could offer.