Matthew 9:35-36, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”
Are you a compassionate person? The dictionary defines compassion as a powerful deep awareness of someone else’s suffering. It’s more than a mere desire to help; it creates a determination, a decision to actually help, even if only in some small way. Other related words would be sympathy (being sad about others’ sadness) or pity (which leads a person to want to help if at all possible). The root word is the same as that of passion, something you want so much that you suffer from not doing or having or accomplishing it. In our hectic and busy lives, we tend to be so caught up with our own concerns and problems that we lose all sense of compassion for others. As believers in Christ we should see people through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ and then we’ll be moved to respond to individuals, whether little children, unsaved friends, parents, or believers of like faith. The following story speaks about compassion and one we should all learn from.
When she shuffled into the subway, I wanted to look away. She was old and had only ragged clothes to protect her from the bitter Chicago winter wind. She took the nearest seat, her shoulders hunched against the cold and her eyes down. Her white, cracked, bony hands clutched a worn shawl tightly around her. I watched with wonder and pity. At the next stop, an energetic young man strode confidently onto the train, his cheeks red with health. His clothes were sharp, his hair immaculate, and his step graceful. He too saw the woman’s silent misery. Three stops later, as the train slowed, he glided by her to the other door and disappeared into the tunnel. On her lap lay his brown leather gloves. I don’t know if he was a believer in Christ or not. However, I do know this: He saw her need and responded with compassion, while I just sat there. It never occurred to me to give her my gloves. That young man showed compassion in a way I will never forget. It reminded me of the kind of compassion that moved Jesus to heal two blind men near Jericho (Matthew 20:34), and ultimately, to give His own life on the cross, so that we could have life eternal.
Why are we so often reluctant to show compassion? I know we can’t help everyone, but whom can we help? How can we develop a greater compassion for those less fortunate than we are? My brethren we need to follow Christ’s example of love and compassion as recorded in God’s Word. When we look at the life of Jesus Christ, we see Him involved in ministries of compassion. I’m mindful of Jairus who begged Him to come and heal his daughter, Jesus went with him (Mark 5:22-24). On the way, when a woman interrupted the procession, Jesus stopped and took the time to speak a healing word to her (Mark 5:25-34), and the many times we read in the Scriptures of Him healing people who are physically sick, delivering people who have spiritual oppression, and doing miracles to feed people. So, my brethren, amid all the demands placed on us as servants of Jesus Christ, are we willing to reach out to someone in need today, tomorrow and the months that lie ahead. Like our Lord, do we have the heart felt compassion to bring help and healing to people who feel hopeless?
When was the last time you held the hand of an aging person or given your coat or pair of gloves to a needy person? When was the last time you said a kind and encouraging word to someone or shed a tear, comforted a tired mother or cradle a sick child until asleep? I’m quite sure you could add many more to the above list. However, the point of this devotional is the concerns of the Lord’s heart haven’t changed. He is still asking all who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior to be instruments of His divine love and compassion for those who are less fortunate and in need of help; for you see, Jesus longs to touch others’ lives through yours.
Compassion is needed to heal the hurts and hearts of others.