Friday, January 29, 2016

Moved With Compassion

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.””
Matthew 9:35-38
How Do I Love Thee…
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in her brilliant work: How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Now, that is a vivid attempt to describe one’s love.  At what depth and breadth do I love?  DO I really love others to the point that I am moved by compassion…as Matthew recorded of Jesus above?
In an article written for Leadership Journal in February of 2014, Tony Kriz wrote: Seven Lies Christians Tell.  Number Seven particularly impacted me:
 “We lie (Insidious and barbaric lying) when we pretend like we really, really, really love the other person when in fact we don’t.
·      We don’t love people when we dismiss their story (including their hopes values, beliefs and convictions).
·      We do not love people when we do not empathically listen to them, as opposed to spending that time formulating a counter-argument.
·      We do not love others when we reduce them to labels, caricatures, or opponents.
If we love, then we will find them shockingly beautiful and fascinating creations. We will find their stories riveting. We will radiate affection. Humans know deep down when they are or are not truly loved.”
Finally for today, I suggested that when we are moved with compassion, we are not merely moved to experience an emotion and express our concern over the situations of others.  Being moved with compassion compels us to respond.  Jesus illustrates this in his comment concerning how the harvest is plentiful, but laborers are few.  The reality of the harvest requires a response: Harvesters go therefore and conduct a harvest.  They do what must be done for the benefit of those who need it to be done.
In what realm will you and I be moved with compassion today?  Are we prepared not to merely feel sympathy or sadness at the suffering or need of others, but to formulate a plan and take action?  We are the hands of feet of our Lord.  Go therefore…and do…what he would do…In Jesus’ name.  Ready…. GO!

Almighty God, how I long to be meaningful this day for you.  I am surrounded by those who suffer and need intervention.  Let me be moved with compassion.  Let me spring into action.  Move me this day to be truly compassionate…to love. 

In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.

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