There are a lot of caring people, who care about family and friends. But, there comes a time in our lives when we come across those who are big on kindness. God sends them just in time when we need them. These people are rare and special. They whisper golden words of comfort in our ears. They graciously give from a relentless hand. They love with an open and unsuspecting heart. These people are full of solicitude—a big word, with a big responsibility…earnest concern and care for others.
Solicitude encourages actions based on genuine love for God and for others. Many people in the Bible demonstrated solicitude and what fortunes we would receive if we part the curtains, observe them in action and learn. So let’s do just that.
Solicitude towards Enemies (Luke 10: 25-37): I don’t know his name and neither do you, but I’m sure many of you know his title, “The Good Samaritan.” He exemplified a class act of solicitude. Darkness would have found the unfortunate Jew, if nobody helped. He was robbed, beaten, tossed to the side, naked and left for dead. One man came and went on the other side. Another examined him, but left him there as he also took the other side. Thank God, “The Good Samaritan” was running late that evening. He was on his business trip, but when he saw the almost dead man, he dressed and bound up his wounds, took him to the hospital and paid his bills. Mind you, Jews and Samaritans were enemies. It was solicitude that broke down that stubborn wall of enmity between this Samaritan and his Jewish brother and built the bridge of friendship. Solicitude is selfless, it loves everyone, and expects no reward.
Solicitude towards Family (Ruth 1): Ruth truly knows what family means; she portrayed such unselfish solicitude towards her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth had every right to start over. Rightfully so, Naomi had nothing to offer her. After all Naomi lost her husband. She lost her sons, one of whom was Ruth’s husband. Naomi felt that she had nothing else to live for, except to go back home and shrivel away into death, but Ruth gave her hope. Naomi was old, but Ruth passionately clung to her as she cried the loving words, “Intreat me not to leave thee…where thou goest I will go.” Imagine, Ruth leaving her own parents and hometown to live with her lonely and disheartened mother-in-law in a strange land. But, that’s what solicitude does. It travels the distance, miles if necessary, just to fulfill acts of kindness.
Solicitude towards Strangers (Ruth 2): It’s only fitting that we again refer to the story of Ruth. Ruth had one mission in mind and that was to take care of the devastated widow, Naomi. Together they left the foreign land of Moab, just in time to arrive for the barley harvest in Bethlehem; but it wasn’t just barley Ruth harvested. Boaz, the master of the barley field, in turn showed her such love and solicitude. He found Ruth the stranger reaping his barley and said, “Give her what she wants, food, water and barley” and then he eventually married her. God blessed them with a son Obed, the grandfather of King David, the lineage of Jesus Christ our Lord. A stranger and an Israelite united in solicitude and through them, Jesus Christ came forth. Solicitude is contagious, once you share it, it finds its way back to you; God rewards solicitude.
Solicitude towards Friends (2 Samuel 9): It was easy for David to be extra kind to anyone he wanted; he was the king, and a very wealthy one too. But, before he became king, he made a promise to his dear friend, Jonathan. That promise would foster a special act of solicitude towards Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth. Not only did David gave him all that belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, but David made him eat from his table as one of the king’s son. The overarching theme in this story is kindness, but there is an obvious but overlooked point. That is, David sought for Mephibosheth. David was determined to show kindness. Solicitude seeks for those in need and build friendships where there could have been enmity.
Solicitude towards Humanity (The Gospels): Jesus lived a solicitous life. He earnestly cared for everyone. His first miracle was for family, solicitude begins at home. He showed solicitude to enemies; the woman at the well. Jesus was especially nice to strangers; the woman caught in adultery. He raised one of his best friends from the dead; Lazarus. In His walk on earth, Jesus set the example of love.
The commandments of God hang in two jars; love for God and love for man. The cord that keep them in a perfect balance is solicitude. Without one, the other would tip over. I pray is that as a man balances two jars of water hung from a stick on his shoulder, you will bear the yoke of solicitude on your shoulder, and share it with the world.
Proverbs 3: 3, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.”