One of my favorite worship songs is, "Mighty to Save." In fact, we sang it at the closing of our service yesterday here at Gaylord E-Free. The opening words to the song are, "Everyone needs compassion..." How true that is.
We saw yesterday in our opening message in our 3-week series on the feeding of the 5,000 that before we can every really pass out the fish and the bread, before we can truly do ministry today, we must first develop a heart of compassion. Matthew 14 teaches us that Jesus, after hearing about the gruesome murder of John the Baptist, wanted some alone time. Instead, when He arrived at the location where His intention was to be alone, there was a crowd of hurting people waiting for Him. While I may have felt "irritation" toward the crowd, Jesus felt "compassion" for them.
But what is compassion. Most people say it is "love" or "sympathy" but compassion is far more than "love" or "sympathy." The word literally means to be "moved in one's bowels." Now remember that in the middle eastern culture the organ that symbolized the seat of one's emotions were the bowels. In our culture it is the heart. Compassion, then, is to be stirred in one's inner meaning, The Latin root would suggest a more intense feeling meaning to "suffer compassion."
You see, compassion is not just feeling sorry for someone who is hurting, it is being moved in such an intense way deep inside that you have to do something. That's compassion. Jesus gave up His "alone time" in order to help meet the needs of hurting people. And He did it out of a heart of compassion. 8 times in the Gospels this words is used to describe Jesus' reaction to people who had physical needs, daily needs, and spiritual needs.
Before we can pass out the fish and the bread today, we must first develop a heart of compassion. Everyone needs compassion!