Beyond Care Lies Compassion - Guidelines Devotional
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living
Giving help to the poor is like loaning money to the Lord. He will pay you back for your kindness (Proverbs 19:17).
Is it possible that one of the reasons we see so little caring and compassion in the world is that we are overwhelmed with our sense of estrangement and searching? Not understanding who we are, selffulfillment is an endless search instead of an anchor, and the end result is that life is a selfish, "me first" game that results in our wanting to win every round or insisting that everyone be first, provided it is first, after you.
How do we learn to overcome our selfishness so that others count? Few of you friends listening would be so honest as to say, "Hey, Sala! That's me you're talking about right now." Let me tell you about an experience which really spoke to my heart involving a blind Korean singer who seemed destined to obscurity or even death, but has changed the lives of many people through her beautiful music.
Kim Wickes, the young lady whom I just mentioned was riding in a taxi with me in Manila where I was speaking and Kim was singing. The taxi hit heavy traffic and we were going nowhere fast. A knock came at the window of the car and I turned to see a blind beggar led by a little boy of nine or ten years of age. Having lived in Asia, I'd seen plenty of beggars, some of whom were desperately worthy and others who were professionals who made a pretty good living making capital of your sense of pity and or guilt.
Long ago, though, I decided that I would rather give to nine undeserving individuals than turn away the one sincerely hungry, hurting person so, I reached into my wallet and pulled out a bill of a few pesos and handed it to the beggar. Kim, riding in the back seat of the taxi, sensed something and said, "What's going on?" I explained that a beggar was at the window, and she immediately opened her purse and took out a bill many times larger than mine.
"Here," she said. "Give this to the beggar!" Then she spoke words which quickly separated our motives as she said, "I know what it is to have to beg; I would have starved to death many times when I was a child if people hadn't given me food to eat."
I responded because I cared; she responded because she had compassion! How do we move from the position of indifference to that of compassion? There are some steps: First, comes concern. Get your eyes off yourself and look around you. Most of the time selfishness or concern with our lives means we have eyes to see but do not see; ears to hear but do not hear. Blinded by selfish interests we walk by the hurting person and don't see them. The next station in the conversion is caring. The realization that others count is part of the process. Yes, God can change your heart, but don't wait to care until a bolt of compassion streaks from the sky. Responding to hurting people produces care. It's the embodiment of concern. The step of action which means you become involved. Finally, compassion results!
The Greek word compassion means "to suffer with" someone, to feel what they feel; to hurt where they hurt. No one can live long enough to feel all the pain of all the world, but you can alleviate someone's pain by caring.
"Honey, why didn't you come right home after school today?" a mother asked her daughter. "Mom, Emilys cat was killed and I was helping her." "Well, if her cat was killed, how could you help?" "I was crying with her," responded the little girl. God, please give us more friends whose compassion goes that deep, and may I be one of them.
Resource Reading: Luke 10:30-35