When a need stirs your compassion, what do you do next? Jesus was frequently moved with compassion, and whenever He was, He always took immediate action to meet the need before Him.
- He taught and healed the crowds, then sent His disciples to do the same. (Matthew 9:36 – 10:8)
- He fed the hungry. (Matthew 14:14; 15:32; Mark 6:34; 8:2)
- He gave the blind their sight. (Matthew 20:34)
- He touched the untouchable leper and healed him. (Mark 1:41)
- In the middle of a funeral, Jesus felt compassion for the bereaved widow and raised her son back to life. (Luke 7:13)
All that is fine for the Son of God, but what about us? We can’t feed thousands with a boy’s lunch, or give blind men their sight, or heal all the sick, or raise the dead. What are we to do when we are moved with compassion?
Jesus answered this question through three of His most memorable parables. In each, a human being like us is moved with compassion and takes action in response. These parables point the way for us.
- We can use what we have to help the needy as we encounter them. The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) was moved with compassion toward a needy person of a different race. He used his own time, energy, and resources to help him.
- In mercy, we can help restore those who are trying to rebuild their broken lives. While the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) was still far away, the father saw him, felt compassion for him, and ran to him. He kissed and embraced him, then restored him to his former relationship by giving him a robe, a ring, and sandals. Then he threw a lavish party to celebrate his return.
- We can show those who have wronged us the same compassion and forgiveness that God has shown us. In the story of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), when the master completely forgave the overwhelming debt of his servant, he expected the servant to do the same for his own debtors.
God moves us with compassion for a reason. Don’t be satisfied with simply feeling the sentiment. Use what the Lord has given you and reach out to help the needy.