Read: Luke 16:1-9
“Many try to win the kindness of a generous person, and everyone is a friend to a person who gives gifts.”
Proverbs 19:6 (NASB)
The poet once observed that, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and in few places does this prove as true as in the halls of government. It started with the early morning doughnuts and orange juice. A muffin made it sweeter, as did chocolate milk or a banana. From there, we moved on to fully catered lunches of roast beef, serve-yourself salad bars, and fresh baked bread. Tables filled with cookies and cakes followed in the afternoon and our evening munchies were satisfied by the leftovers. The entirety of this bounty was served up daily by an assortment of political lobbyists who seemed to spend more hours on the fourth floor of the capitol rotunda than they spent at home.
It wasn’t long before the fourth floor was the first place the House pages visited when we came in each morning. We returned each time we had a break and we (and our more powerful employers) were even willing to lend these friendly lobbyists an ear if they’d kindly pass us one more doughnut or another piece of pie. It was heaven… and not just for us.
The lobbyists had mastered a good bit of Biblical advice: winning friends with their kindness. Offer a Senator a doughnut and you might just find yourself with a captive audience for the next minute and a half… long enough to pitch an idea for fresh legislation or begin swaying an opinion about the bill presently on the floor. Tricky? Maybe. Brilliant? Yes!
Unfortunately, many Christians tend to shy away from similar forms of kindness. Whether it’s because we associate generosity with “wanting something” or because we simply feel that we have nothing to give, it’s guaranteed that we’re missing out! The Bible dedicates more than a few verses to the idea that our demonstration of friendship (whether by gift-giving or just good-natured friendliness) plays a huge role in both where we go in life and how we’ll experience those places once we get there. So the next time you feel tempted to be generous, do! You may be surprised by the results!
Challenge: While going out of your way to be kind to others doesn’t always “pay off” in a material sense, it does in a spiritual one. The next time you see an opportunity to do something generous for someone else, take it. And don’t hesitate to accept generosity from others as well. It’s likely that their motives for giving aren’t that far removed from yours!