Random Ax of Kindness

Jim Mead

READ : 2 Kings 6:1-7

. . . his ax head fell into the water; he cried out, “Alas, master! It was borrowed.” (v. 5)

A few years ago “practicing random acts of kindness” was all the rage. People were encouraged to resist the world’s hatred and violence by doing small, anonymous good deeds: buying the lunch of someone in line at the fast food place, paying the toll of the car behind you, those sorts of things. Without a doubt, the world can’t have too much kindness. But kindness needs to be demonstrated in more than merely random ways.

In one of the strangest stories in the Bible, Elisha’s prophetic company is building a meeting place near the Jordan River. One man’s ax head flies into the water, leaving him devastated because the tool was borrowed.

While it’s normal to ponder Elisha’s strange miracle of the floating ax head, we should not overlook the story’s beginning. Elisha and his students were a true community. His miracle was motivated by his deep and determined love for them. And it was not a random act but one specifically focused on a real and pressing need.

Showing loving-kindness to others is grounded in the love God has shown to us in Christ. It makes the greatest impression when directed toward the spoken – and unspoken – cries of our neighbors.


God of Elisha, teach us to respond promptly and kindly to our friends in need.