"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

12 February 2013

Plentiful Compassion: A Compassion Post

I mentioned in my last post that I've been reading The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.

Today, I came across a passage that stopped me in my tracks.

Jesus showed a picture of a living God who has compassion on all those who have lost their way in the world, regardless of their external circumstances. He showed a willingness to reach out to the broken and needy. Matthew 9:36-38 reveals Jesus' loving heart toward the people he met: 

"He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'" 

"He felt compassion for them." That's so important. ...Vision alone is not enough. The vision defines the purposes of God, but compassion defines the heart of the vision. When we understand that God's love reaches into the dark and depraved corners of people's lives to bring healing and eternal life, then we will see people not for what they are but for who they are -- people Christ loves and who need his redemption.

That Matthew verse is one of my prompts for serving Jesus.

I felt convicted as I read this chapter, because it's so easy for me to see need in this world and feel overwhelmed, thinking there just no way all these hurts can be healed, hungry fed, needs met. But He gave us eyes to see and ears to hear and hands to touch and feet to run. 

Sally tells a story of how, when her children were younger, she came home one day to a sink-full of dirty dishes piled sky-high. She asked them why no one had washed the dishes. Her children's response? 

"No one told us to."

Her response was much more gracious than mine would have been. She told them that someday, when they were older and more mature, they would see need and they would just do it -- without anyone having to tell them. 

How often do we -- do I -- use the excuse that I didn't feel God telling me to do something? But as His child, haven't I been taught better? Don't I know better by now?

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

If each of us just met the needs we see, the ones right in front of us, one by one, maybe ... just maybe ... it wouldn't seem quite so overwhelming.


  1. So true! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great, great post. I'm here from Compassion and I love what you have shared here.

    Sally's book is on my "want to read" list - now I want to read it even more!

    1. Jill, I didn't even know who Sally Clarkson was until I read the book she and Sarah Mae wrote together (Desperate). I posted about it a little while ago. But I just LOVE her beautiful perspective on motherhood and parenting in general.

    2. Oh, and thank you for the kind words! :~)