A destitute woman. A sick and desperate mother. A prodigal son; these were the kind of people Jesus exercised continual com- passion toward. After demonstrating his great compassion in every synagogue and village of Israel, Jesus did something else. He made it clear that he was calling His followers to live with this same compassion, bringing wholeness to every community in the world.
The biblical word compassion describes more than emotion. It describes a motivation that cannot rest until the pain is relieved. It is undoubtedly what drove Jesus to restore the Samaritan woman when His body was crying out for rest. It’s what motivated Jesus to fight a treacherous storm to deliver a severely oppressed man.
How much compassion is your church releasing within your community? I would encourage you to ask yourself that question, and some of your best leaders as well.
Then, together ask God for a plan that will unleash more life-giving compassion in your community!
Several years ago, I was reading Acts 3 and 4, and became deeply impressed that our church needed to become more compassionate. And it still does! I saw how Peter and John released healing into a lame man, who begged at the temple gate his entire life. Afterward, the community was filled with joy and the church grew to five times its former size!
The Holy Spirit helped me see that, our church could have more favor in our community and succeed more in His mission, if we were more compassionate! At the time, we saw ourselves as more of a teaching center where occasionally the Holy Spirit performed miracles among us. Certainly those things are both biblical and essential. But we discovered that we were also called to heal people by exercising a greater degree of HIS compassion.
Everyone was excited as our lea- ders shared our new call to com- passion. Ideas were exchanged that empowered us to be more compassionate without spending extra time or money. We could serve visitors with more excellence. We could minister to the next generation with more purpose. We could design services with more creativity to communicate more clearly how God heals. We could build a reputation among hurting people helping them realize our church existed for them and not just for us!
John Wesley called this the restoration of apostolic confidence. He said that apostolic confidence is rooted in who the church is and what we know about bringing healing to humanity. He wrote that this confidence is the beginning of an effective movement for God in any community.