Before we can do ministry effectively today we must first develop a heart of compassion. That was the first of eight principles we saw Sunday in our new study on the feeding of the 5,000. In my blog posting yesterday we defined compassion. Compassion is more than sympathy. Compassion is seeing a need and being so stirred in your inner being that you have to sacrifice to help meet that need.
The disciples didn't get it. In Matthew 14, their response to the multitude of people as night began to settle in and food was scarce, was to advise Jesus to, "Send them away!" How's that for compassion? Even after this miracle was over, they still didn't get it. In chapter 15, a Canaanite woman kept yelling at Jesus asking Him to help her daughter who was possessed by a demon. Jesus didn't respond to her constant yelling in order to see how His disciples would respond. How did they reply? "Jesus, send her away! She keeps shouting at us!" Again, no real compassion. This woman was getting on their last nerve so forget her need, just send her away...please!
So let me ask you this question...do we get it? Do we at the Gaylord E-Free church really get it? Are we willing to show compassion...real compassion...even to those in our community, in our families, where we work, and in our school who are getting on our last nerve? Listen, Gaylord E-Free, we will never really be able to pass out the fish and the bread until we develop a heart of compassion.
So last Sunday we equipped you with a first step. In the bulletin last Sunday was a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" coffee coupon at BJ's restaurant. The challenge is this. Ask God to lay on your heart or bring across your path someone who is hurting. Sacrifice an hour and reach out to them. Invite them out for a cup of coffee. Listen to their story. Pray for them right across the table. Don't just "send them away," even if they are the one getting on your last nerve.
Coffee and Compassion...that's a powerful duo!