Saturday, January 1, 2011

Compassion 101

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Luke 6:36, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”(NLT)

Devotion: The loud meow was unmistakable. Great! Another stray cat to deal with. I told the kids not to even think about feeding it or showing it any attention so that it would move on its merry way. After all, we did not have time to deal with an unwanted visitor right now.

And the thing was pitiful! Matted hair, a tail that had been partially bobbed by who knows what, and an annoying, constant meow did nothing to win our favor. I felt pangs of guilt for not showing the thing some affection, but why encourage it to stay?

That was Tuesday evening. By Wednesday morning, the kids and I heard it as we bolted out the door to get to work and school, but we didn’t see it anywhere. Pulling out of the driveway, I muttered, “Gee, I wonder if it’s stuck somewhere since it didn’t come out.”

When we got home that evening, the meows were still loud. Strangely, they were coming from one of my over-sized flower pots. The cat was lying inside, clearly dying, and crying out because he could hear us nearby.

I lost it. I begged Shane to end its misery and then held a flashlight while he dug its final resting place. The full weight of my earlier lack of compassion hit me and I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt more like a wretch. That cat had come to us to die and I had withheld love in its final hours.

I sobbed to the cat I was sorry and I sobbed to God that I was sorry I hadn’t shown tenderness to “the least of these.” I’d already felt that was the lesson God was impressing and its conviction was almost unbearable.

Back in the house afterwards, Shane shared he’d come to the same conclusion—that God was showing us that we get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we become hardened or at least apathetic to those in need. To those who come to us for maybe nothing more than a kind word or a little love.

We both feel that God wanted our eyes fully opened to this fact because there are people all around us—maybe even the “undesirable”—who He does not want us to brush aside. Jesus showed compassion, especially to the sick and rejected, and we are to do the same. Did I already know that? Yes. Did I practice it? Sadly, no.

Lesson learned.

Now God, help me to put this lesson into action. Do I know without a doubt that Your will is always to show love, even when it’s inconvenient? Yes! But Lord, putting it into action is so difficult and I need Your strength and resolve to be obedient in this command to love and be compassionate to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Keep your eyes open for the ones God places in front of you who need compassion and love.

Power Verses:

Mark 1:41, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’”(NLT).

Luke 10:33, “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him”(NLT).

Phillipians 2:1, “[ Have the Attitude of Christ ] Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”(NLT)


Women's Ministry Team said...

Kathy, sorry to say but I would have passed the cat too. Thanks for sharing! ~BLL

Mollie said...

As I read this I thought of the homeless I had seen in Philadelphia that came right up to us begging. I thought of those standing on the street corners in THI never knowing which ones are truly in need and those that are just making their living by begging. I thought of Jesus by the pool of Bethesda, and He only asked one if he wanted to be healed. And all I can think about is motives and discernment and frustration in knowing what to do. So when I read your devo all I can think of is to check the compassion in my heart. Am I hardening it busy with my own judgements and agenda? Too often I think my answer has to be yes. Thank you for making me think again.

debbyc said...

Kathy, thanks for sharing - it broke my heart and reminds me of the times I ask the Lord to put people in my path who he wants me to minister to and then have I even taken the time to notice.

Charity said...

Kathy, what a great example of God's command to us. We are to love all, not just a few, not just when it is convenient. Thank you for this reminder!

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