2-15-15 “The Service of Compassion” Mt. 9:35-37
?The Service of Compassion?? Matthew 9:33-37 2-15-15
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I was talking about baseball the other day and someone said that sometimes parents can be brutal at those games.? I remember once when a boy on Chapin was hit by a pitch and literally fell to the ground.? There was a collective sucking in of air by the crowd on both sides.? It looked terrible- all except for one very intense guy who was obviously the father of the pitcher.? He yelled in the silence- with a serious effort to encourage the pitcher- way to keep him from crowding the plate!? When someone is down, or sick or hurting- those are times when we are called to put compassion first. ??? But Jesus just looked at the crowds- and could sense their lostness.? They were lonely, they were busy, but they were purposeless- going nowhere- wandering around harassed by life and helpless to move forward with a purpose.? That is not much different from our day. ??He had compassion on them.? I had said earlier that a servant sees what needs to be done.? But a servant also has compassion on those who have a need.? ?That is my main point today. I. COMPASSION ON THE PHYSICALLY NEEDY- All the major religions compel us to be compassionate. One of the goals of classical yoga is to have a compassionate mind.? One of the main characteristics of God in Judaism and Islam is God?s compassion.?? Buddhism?s handling of suffering is to be compassionate.? But Christianity is in many ways about grace and compassion.? The good news of the faith is that God had compassion on us and came down for us. ??Certainly Jesus taught compassion in his great sermon on the mount he said, ?Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.?? He showed compassion and pity on the lepers, on the parents of sick children, on the woman at the well, and the woman caught in adultery.? He gave the Parable of the Good Samaritan encouraging us to stop our busyness long enough to show compassionate to a stranger in need.? Jesus, I believe, embodied compassion.? We believe He came to earth out of compassion for us- as a servant to lift us up.? Here he had compassion on them for they were lost like sheep.? In many ways being a Christian means being compassionate- even the world knows that.? When someone says, ?That was not very Christian of you? it often means ?You were not compassionate like Jesus was.?? ????Jesus cared about others more than his own reputation or safety.?? He cared for their physical needs.? ?????????Today it is freezing.? Think about the homeless- and do something.? ?Tomorrow we may have freezing rain- think of your neighbors who may not have electricity and invite them over if you have some.? Or if it snows, think of the person who cannot shovel their walk or drive.? Or if nothing else, say a prayer- to get beyond yourself.? Or give to the church a gift to Goodworks for heat for those in need. II. COMPASSION ON THE SPIRITUALLY NEEDY- The NIV says the people Jesus saw were harassed and helpless.? The Holman Bible says they ?were weary and worn out.? KJV says ?They fainted and were scattered abroad.?? The word skullo literally means to ?skin? or annoy- or ?get under one?s skin? is the saying we use. Rhipto means scattered or cast away.? In other words- the people were upset and irritated because they knew there was something wrong- but they didn?t know what to do.? They had a spiritual itch- getting under their skin and making them helpless- but they didn?t know what to do.? They were like bullied children.? There is so much talk about bullies today.? But there are spiritual bullies out there- who will make fun of those who try to be good- be good anyway.? There are those who will pick on you for going to church- go to church anyway.? There are those who will get mad at you just for doing a good job- do a good job for the Lord anyway.? Jesus saw a crowd who was lost and helpless- the disciples just saw people.? Jesus saw a harvest- the disciples just saw people.? Jesus saw an opportunity- the disciples just saw a crowd to walk through. ????? Go out into the world today and love the people you meet.? Let your presence light new light in the hearts of others.? Truth is the people had a shepherd right there- Jesus- the great shepherd of the sheep, he is called in scripture.? He had empathy for them because they were refusing to follow Him. III. COMPASSION FOR A SOLUTION- ?The solution Jesus gave is a surprising one.? It astonishes me that Jesus- the wise man- the prophet- the Son of God- would look at the great problem of humanity- have compassion and then say the solution was to pray.?? The people needed a good shepherd- Jesus.? They needed someone to point the way to Him- laborers to get out into the field- do the hard work of harvesting the crop of God. I am totally convinced we do not pray enough.? Today we will elect an APNC- but the very first and Jesus said the most important step was to pray.? In fact, He didn?t say what you need to do is get organized and make a plan, and a CIF and make some contacts, spread the word and then get someone.? Instead, He said we need to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will raise up laborers.? He is the One who raises up laborers.? He is the one who calls people to leave their comfort to be a minister- and He is the great matchmaker for us. I wear a little tie around my wrist that says, ?Luke 10:02? or Luke 1002 that reminds me to pray for the 1001 new worshiping communities.? I hope we can help start one as a part of our building this new building, and as a way to reach out to others in Christ?s name with the great hope of Christ.? ???????????We are all called to have compassion for those who have never heard.? ?Did you know that one out of every five people in North America who do not believe in Christ do not know any Christians?? In a recent study by Gordon Conwell Seminary- this was found.? That is about 13.5 million people- the size of the city of Los Angeles ?or three times the population of South Carolina.? Why do Christians keep to themselves?? We like to be comfortable and they probably won?t want to know us anyway?? Jesus didn?t think like that.? He ate and drank with sinners to reach out in compassion.? ???????Did you know in our presbytery in the last year we started three worshiping communities because some saw the need to reach out?? So one was reaching out to Hispanics who had no church in Joanna SC.? They took an old closed down Presbyterian church and started teaching English as a second language classes.? Some accepted faith in Christ there.? Another was in a Medicaid nursing home in Laurens.? Kids from Thornwell teamed with Presbyterian churches to go to the nursing home to sing songs, pray, lead in worship and bring hope- because they had eyes to see.? I encourage you to see the people you would not normally see.? Pray that God will raise up laborers.? Be a laborer, a servant of compassion, ?this week.