Compassion isn’t just about looking at people in need and telling them that Jesus loves them. You can’t hear about Jesus’ love when your stomach is empty. The original meaning of the word “compassion” means to co-suffer. To love our neighbors as ourselves means that we are open to feeling what they feel and are willing to put ourselves in their place. Read over Isaiah 58:6-11 and take on a challenge to eat only rice and beans for lunch each day this week. As you eat, think about what it would be like to eat that for every meal and have barely enough to survive. Pray for those in developing worlds who live that reality.
In Philemon chapter 1, Paul leverages his personal reputation and all that he has for the benefit of Onesimus. In verse 18 he says, “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” He was reflecting the character of Christ by putting himself in the place of someone else in need. Take a moment to think about the sacrifice that Christ made for your life. Consider what sacrifice (kindness to a stranger, paying for someone else’s needs, sharing tangible resources) you can make to show compassionate love to someone today and then act on it.
Proverbs 31:8 compels us to “Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble.” Over the weekend, we got a chance to participate in The Compassion Experience, which took us through the lives of two children living in poverty. If you weren’t here for that experience and want to know more about the work of Compassion International, head over to their website: www.compassion.com. Take some time out today to pray for the employees, volunteers, sponsors, partner churches working with Compassion International, and the children affected by their work.
Onesimus the slave ran away from his master, and after becoming a Christian realizes that the right thing to do is to go back and ask for forgiveness. Philemon the slave owner faces his own decision with a letter from apostle Paul in hand. He has to decide whether or not he will forgive and restore Onesimus even after he stole and ran away. Compassion leads the way to second chances and restoration. Is there someone in your life that you need to make things right with? Anyone that you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from? Take some time to pray over Ephesians 4:32 and take a step in a forgiving direction.
We often don’t realize what resources we truly possess in our everyday lives. If you get a chance today, head over to http://www.globalrichlist.com and enter your net income. Once you do, you’ll be able to see how much you make per hour compared to the average laborer in a developing country. After looking at that number, think about where your money, skills, or other resources are currently going and how you’re using them to invest hope + support to those in need locally and globally. Take time today to meditate on Romans 12:6-8 and ask God to help guide you in how you manage what He’s given you.