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Friday, February 17, 2012


If I get to the newspaper first in the morning (of which I usually do), I keep an out for that part of the paper which occasionally shows up designed to pull the heartstrings of readers.  It is the section where there is a picture of some cute puppy or little kitty cat that is in need of a home.  I keep my eye out for it because I know when my wife Pam sees it, there will be some emotional response – depending on the cuteness factor.  You see, my wife is very compassionate.  She is moved by the plight of others – four-legged and two-legged.
            The root meaning of the word “compassion” is “to suffer with.”  Let’s be honest – compassion is an inconvenience.  We spend much of our energy making sure we don’t personally suffer and then along comes compassion, which requires that we suffer because of someone else’s needs.
            No one could say that Jesus tried to hide from suffering.  In fact he seems to invite it into his life most of the time.  And one of the ways he does that is being aware and attentive to those around him.  In his awareness, Jesus was regularly emotionally impacted by their needs.  He suffered in his heart because he saw the suffering of those around him.  If we are going to follow Jesus, if we are going to more and more live our lives like his, compassion will be something we grow into.  As we become more like Jesus we will be more aware of the needs of those around us and we will be moved by them.
            But here is something really important to understand about the compassion of Jesus:  compassion always moved him to action.  Compassion will move us to action if it is motivated by Godly love.  Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw sick people and he healed them.  Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw hungry people and he fed them.  Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw ignorant people so he taught them.  Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw hurting people and he comforted them.  God was moved with compassion when he saw us lost so he sent his Son Jesus to seek and to save us from our lostness.
            We are passionate about raising up compassionate followers of Jesus Christ to be risk-takers for God.  That is our mission at Cold Springs Community Church.  Compassion is an essential element of living out God’s mission in the world.
            Feeling compassion is an invitation to take the risk of acting in love to meet the need of another.  We haven’t been compassionate until we have acted upon the feeling.  We haven’t been like Jesus until we have actually done something in response to the need by which we have been moved.
            Here is my challenge – start exercising your compassion muscle.  Over the next five days pay particular attention to someone God has put in your life – a parent, daughter, son, spouse, neighbor, co-worker - and try to see a need they have each day and then do something to meet that need.  Decide you are going to act with compassion.  When you do this, you will become more like Jesus and you will probably really surprise some people!
            “…a compassionate follower of Jesus Christ…”  There’s no better way to live.

Peace and grace,

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