21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. 22 You will heap burning coals on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
Do you have enemies? I had to think about this – deep inside, I knew I did, but I couldn’t really identify any. I mean, sure terrorists are my enemy and were I walking down the war-torn streets of Baghdad, I’d find out quickly who my enemies were. But what about in my every day world? I have those who would surely walk all over me to get what they need at work. There are those who give me “a look”, a honk, (or a certain finger) if I do something in traffic they don’t approve of. Are these my enemies?
Well, I certainly can “kill them with kindness” by not responding or allowing their actions to cause me to fly off the handle.
But, I got to thinking about the first verse. Who are my enemies? Who are thirsty and hungry around me that I can consider “against me” somehow? Am I even out there in “the world” enough to encounter these enemies? Am I involved in ministry enough to cross paths with those who would oppose Christianity, or am I so shut up in my own little kingdom that I don’t really have any enemies?
I got to thinking that perhaps I should be out there proclaiming Christ as I help feed homeless or volunteer in a shelter. Perhaps I should be in the streets telling the gospel story and following the example of Christ. I bet I’d quickly find out who my enemies are.
Then, I would be able to show them kindness and (here’s the fun part) heap burning coals on their heads – and (here’s the cül part) reap my rewards from the Lord.
I know, I know, it’s not about the reward – or watching my enemies squirm from the heat of the burning ash in their collar. The encouragement for me today is to find out how to be “out there” in the world enough to encounter my enemy. He’s out there. But, if I’m all couped up in my safe little kingdom, he will have no reason to pursue me. I’ve found that when I’m serving and helping in the community, that’s when I get attacked. I’ve become dangerous to my enemy at that point, and I quickly find out who my enemies are.
Lord, fill me with Your compassion for the people who do not know You, and for those who need You in their lives the most. Give me courage to get out in the battle more and make a difference in my community, rather than be “safe” in my own little world. -amen