The Jewish church of Jesus' time had lost something. They had grabbed on to the law, the legalism and the rules. They were all about practices and structure. They would have reveled in some of the things I hear all the time ... "the Lord helps those who help themselves" ... "those people have made their beds and now they must lie in them" ... "we should only help the repentant" ... I could add more, but you get the point. The Jewish church had their own economic subsystem going. They would charge a good price for animals and goods "worthy" of being used as a sacrifice, robbing the people and establishing the church Jesus said was a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13). Where had the heart for the people gone? Where had they gone off the rails, forgetting that the law was given for the good of the people ... not the bondage of the people. There was no compassion.
Jesus modeled compassion. He had splagchnizomai for those He saw were hurting, lost or on the wrong path. The word means to be moved in the inward parts. Other definitions include a hurting in the gut. Both indicate that Jesus had a physical reaction to those He saw hurting, hungry, thirsty or lost. Jesus hurt with them!
Which of these examples must we follow? The easiest is clear. It is very easy to dismiss those in need and leave them to their own devices. I hear a lot of that in conversations about politics and social issues.
I think Jesus would ask us to follow the hard way ... the way that gets our hands dirty and our wallets lighter. I am thankful to be in a generous church that seems to be our communities catalyst for compassion. I appreciate Backpacks for Friday, the Boys and Girls Club, the Abbeville Christian Benevolence Fund, the Thrift Store, Home Run Derby and Celebrate Recovery, all modeling the Godly attribute of compassion. Thank you for being that kind of people! Randy