Good morning. Remember, compassion makes a difference. Sunday, Zach opened our month with a lesson about compassion. Someone once said, “If we wipe out poverty but neglect to tell the poor the good news about Jesus Christ, we will have failed in our mission, but if we preach the gospel and ignore the plight of the poor, we are false prophets.” That is, our life teaches the wrong thing if it is not full of compassion. The Old and New testaments alike are full of admonitions to care for the poor, injured or abandoned. Matthew 25, in the picture of the sheep and the goats, makes compassion part of the criteria of our salvation. Without it, we are among the goats (the lost). It was compassion for our lost condition when we were without strength that moved God to give His Son on our behalf (Rom. 5:6-8).
Compassion involves action. I can pity someone, sympathize with someone, empathize with someone without action. But, just like I cannot love without action, I cannot have compassion without action. John makes this abundantly clear when he says in 1 John 3:17, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
John says in 1 Jn. 3:18: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” To shut off action is to shut off compassion. James, in his discussion about faith, in chapter 2, also implies this truth, “14: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15: If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16: And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
The following is a list of passages where Jesus is said to have compassion. It is worth your time to read and consider that action is always involved in His compassion.
Mt. 14:14 – healed the sick
Mt. 15:32 – feeding the 4000
Mt. 18:27-33 – forgave servant of debt
Mk. 1:41 – healing the leper
Mk. 5:19 – cast out the devil
Lk. 7:11-15 – raised the son of the widow of Nain
Lk. 10:25-27 – good Samaritan bound up and paid
Lk. 15:20-30 – father forgave
Brothers and sisters, we will have to work at it. Let’s make compassion part of our life. And, this year, lot’s make it count.