At church on Sunday we had Helen Green speak to us about compassion. Helen walks the walk on this. She has worked with the disabled, the desperately poor and the ‘forgotten ones’ for much of her working life. I was deeply moved by her stories and her message and was left with this conviction: If we truly want the life and love of Jesus flowing in and through us we must open our hearts to the ones that Jesus opened his heart to. We know who they are; the sick, the lame, the leper, the prostitute, the widow, the sinner, the poor – the outsiders, the oppressed, the nobodies. Jesus’ mission statement is recorded in Luke 4:18-19:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
But then another conviction struck. We must walk with God as we minister in his name. It sounds obvious but do we do it? I have been caught out more than once as I rushed in to “help the needy” only to be conned, lied to and betrayed. I acted out of my conviction that I should help the needy but did not wait for God’s guidance in how I should help the needy. By not doing so I was actually of no help in helping them break the bondages that had led to their near-impossible situations.
I want the life of Jesus in me. I truly want to minister in his name to those whom society has left behind and kicked in the guts. I have a compassionate heart. But I must walk with God if I am to truly help. Jesus knew the power of the Spirit; his anointing and his guidance. We all need to open our hearts to him before we can live out his heart for others. As we open our hearts to him we learn to share in his life; his Spirit-led and empowered life. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves as we seek Christ’s heart of compassion:
Lord, how can I serve the poor and needy with my time, money and gifts?
Lord, what is the most loving thing to do for this person/situation that you have given me a heart for?
Lord, what does it mean to take up my cross and follow you?
I found the following video by Parachute Band inspirational and helpful: