Journey to the Cross
Saturday, February 20
Harry Varner, member of RPC since 1995
When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them. - Matthew 14:14
It is clear from the Gospels that during his walk here on earth, Jesus had a heart of compassion. It is equally clear that he acted on this compassion to relieve suffering and fill needs. This is beautifully illustrated in the passage from Matthew 14 when he encountered a large crowd, we read he had compassion on them, AND we read that he taught them, he healed the sick, and fed the hungry.
The importance of linking action with compassion is underlined in this passage from James 4:15 and 16. "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go I wish you well; keep warm and well fed' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"
I must now confess to an incident that occurred several years ago that makes it seem like this passage from James was written with me in mind. On a bitterly cold day a salesman came to my door obviously not dressed for the severe weather. I felt great sympathy for him, made a small purchase, wished him well, and sent him on his way. Later I was feeling pretty good about being so compassionate toward this unfortunate person. Suddenly it occurred to me that having just moved back south after years up north, I had an excess of warm outer garments just one of which would have served my visitor well. So while my "compassion" gave me warm and fuzzy feelings, it did nothing for the man out in the cold.
This was a strong lesson for me to actively seek ways to assist those for whom I am moved to compassion. Though not endowed with miraculous power, we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus in giving generously of ourselves, our time, and our resources to provide comfort and material to help those in need, individually or through RPC's outreach programs.
Heavenly Father, create in me a spirit of compassionate love and the will to act on it. In Jesus name, Amen