Compassion

 Every day we hear of greater sorrows than the day before.  Job losses bring home and business foreclosures which cause great personal stress that leads to illnesses and even death, for some have chosen to end their own lives in the midst of their hopelessness, even to do this in the home that is being taken from them.  The extent of all of this is sometimes beyond our ability to keep in the proper perspective.

And along with the economic upheaval has come a thing called ‘hoarding’.  And it has become something that even TV “reality” shows are made of.  People hoarding huge amounts of everything.  Not to share in the time of need with others, but to keep locked in closets, basements and even warehouses in order to satisfy their own feelings of desperation.

We read the papers and watch the news and our hearts break for those who are suffering in a failing economy.  And many get caught up in the present situation and close themselves off from what they know to be the truth.                                    

But Christians need to be filled with Christ’s compassion.  And when I say ‘Christians’, I am referring to those who do more than just go to church once a week in a sort of ‘feel good about myself’ religion.  I mean those who are redeemed by the Lord’s work at Calvary and are quick to say so. . .I mean those who have set their love for their Savior ahead of all else. . .I mean those who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. . .I mean those who are obedient to His command to ‘feed My sheep’ (John 21:17), these are those who must be filled with His compassion.

In reading in Isaiah, (Isaiah 58) I found some things that we all should be thinking of, even as things possibly get worse.  While it is true that we will, as our Lord said,always have the poor with you‘ (Matt. 26:11), God’s challenge to us through His prophet Isaiah, to open our hearts to others is paramount if we are to stay true to His calling.

Take time to read Isaiah 58 and make note of the things that we can do for those who are in desperate straits. 
For instance, verse 7 tells us to share our bread with the hungry.  But our hearts must go along with the bread.  God’s loves the cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)
And vs. 8 begins with the word ‘then‘. . . .”Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly.  Your righteousness will go before you, and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard.”
. . then your light will appear like the dawn. . . .(watch as the sun rises one morning and consider that)
. . then your recovery will come quickly. . . .(watch as something in your own life get’s His touch)
. . then your righteousness will go before you. . . .(see His Word bring peace to others that you meet)
. . then the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard. . . .(live knowing that the enemy can’t come at your back)

All of those blessings depend on the ‘then‘, depend on gracious generosity, depend on selfless giving, and on compassion. 

But His blessings don’t end there, for “if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday.  The LORD will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones.  You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry.”                                                                                          

Personally, I love those promises!  No darkness, being led by Him Who knows the way, never thirsty and strong bones.  Those should be enough but we can have more. . .to be like “a well watered garden” and a “spring whose waters never run dry” means that while He is blessing me, I can bless others.

This is what Christians are born for.  It is what Christ’s Spirit within us gives us abilities for, to touch the needs that are like a tidal wave around us and be moved by the same compassion that moved Him to feed the hungry, always remembering that by offering ourselves to the hungry, we open the way of sharing Christ’s Gospel which can save to the “uttermost” (Hebrews 7:24-26)

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