Dwight Marrow, the father of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, once held a dinner party to which Calvin Coolidge had been invited. After Coolidge left, Morrow told the remaining guests that Coolidge would make a good president. The others disagreed. They felt Coolidge was too quiet, that he lacked color and personality. No one would like him, they said. Anne, then age six, spoke up: “I like him,” she said. Then she displayed a finger with a small bandage around it.
“He was the only one at the party who asked about my sore finger. “
Showing a bit of compassion to a person makes a huge difference! Jude 22 says, “And of some having compassion, making a difference.” While we understand that this verse is speaking about using compassion to bring back those that have gone astray in apostasy, it has challenged my heart as to how all ministry is to be done, if it’s to accomplish what the Lord would desire.
There are two ways to do ministry – in the flesh and in the Spirit. When we serve the Lord in the Spirit we will respond in compassionate ways to the needs around us.
Would you really want an uncaring nurse to administer your shots to you?
Would you appreciate your hostess responding to you in a hostile manner when she learns you have some dietary restrictions?
Would you want to be greeted by a cold, unfeeling church member when you’re in the midst of a trial?
We are given a wonderful example of compassion in Acts 9. The character is Dorcas, a follower of Christ’s. She was known by the good works she had done for the widows. After she fell sick and died, the women mourned her death so much that they sent for Peter. Surely he could do something for her! Here’s a lesson in itself. What will others say when you and I die? Would we be missed so much that others would pray for our resurrection? Would our absence in our home, church, and community leave a void? We are each preaching our funeral while we live!
When Peter arrived they spread out the coats and garments that Dorcas had made for them; this was the demonstration of her compassion for these widows. If all our compassionate efforts were spread out in front of others what would we have to show?
- Would there be evidence that we cared, that we:
- took time to provide a meal for someone?
- That we had graciously spent time writing a note of encouragement to someone in the midst of a difficulty?
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little world that we miss out on opportunities to show compassion. Dorcas made the Gospel believable by her acts of mercy, coupled with a heart that moved her efforts along like the current of a waterfall. Her life was constantly pouring out good works. We know that these works don’t save a person. We could never do enough good to pay the ransom for our soul. Christ did that on the cross. Our works, however, show that our faith is not dead (James 2:26b).
There are many opportunities for us to link arms and show compassion. We can encourage each other first in our individual homes (sometimes the easiest place to neglect). Our efforts should then run to the church and then our community.
Be alert to the opportunities that the Lord brings your way. Someone out there has a “bandaged finger”; let’s find them and minister to them, and in so doing make the Gospel believable!