“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt. 9:35-38)
True compassion will always lead to Godly action. Compassion is not only being “broken” over suffering, but it leads to action. Informed action. Holistic action.
One of the things that stuns me from helping to start orphanages and being involved in many social justice causes, has been the focus of so many organizations on the meeting of physical needs alone as the ultimate end of what they do. This was never enough for Jesus (see James 2). He had a higher and more holistic value of life.
As I was reading through Mt. 9 I noticed His compassion was driven by their helplessness. Yet, their helplessness was not even the main focus. Knowing that He had the answer (therefore the Triune sufficiency was the focus) was what allowed Him to even see their helplessness. He knew He had an answer!
Now take a step back. Envision what He was seeing. As He looked at “the crowds” they undoubtedly made up a vast array of socio-economic backgrounds. Some must have had huge smiles on their faces. Some probably were stricken with depression. Basically they probably didn’t look much different than what a crowd would look like today, yet Jesus said they were all harassed and helpless!
Nonetheless, this reality did not lead Jesus to just sit around. He preached. He taught. He healed. He prayed.
Does your view of compassion move you to action? If it does, how does that practically look in your life today? If it doesn’t, please reconsider your view of compassion.