If you are a follower of Jesus, one of the things asked of us is to live a compassion-filled life. Jesus had compassion for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. Jesus also calls us into a life of compassion for family members, friends, and neighbors. Compassion helps us serve hurting and broken people. Jesus modeled compassion for people who are victims of injustice, people without resources, or those who are trapped by oppressive powers and principalities. Compassion can be as simple as choosing to wave to a homeless person on a street corner or as complex as flying internationally to serve in an underprivileged part of the world.
A few years ago, I started running. I used to see running as a last resort, nothing more than a faster means to get from point A to point B. But I COULD run. My physical body knew how, and I was physically capable of running a short distance. However, since I started actively working on my technique, pace, and form and began consistently running, I can now call myself a runner.
There is a major difference between being able to run and being a runner. In the same way, there is a major difference between “having” compassion and “living” compassion. To “have” compassion is situational; it is circumstantial. It can be dictated by your mood or your time. To LIVE compassion is a way of life. For anything to become a way of life, it takes time and consistency. You have to actively work to transform a practice into a routine or habit. It is the small, everyday decisions to HAVE compassion that will turn into a life OF compassion. As a pastor, you are always working to help people become more like Jesus. Helping people live compassionate lives is part of that job description.
A few years ago, we decided to invest in a mission trip called Encuentro. We’d heard amazing stories of lives being changed as people served and made an impact for the kingdom of God, so we decided to go for it. We signed up a group of 70 students and sponsors. We flew to Costa Rica. We spent a week immersing ourselves in worship, community, and serving. It was unbelievable.
In that week, God did things that only God could do. I could have never imagined how a simple decision to practice compassion would develop lifelong relationships with Encuentro Missions and the ministry in Costa Rica. I had no idea that God would call six students to live out compassion through accepting a call to ministry.
Our hearts were changed through Encuentro Missions. It was a catalyst in our lives that woke us up to the reality that we are called to LIVE OUT compassion every day, whether we are sitting in a classroom or halfway across the world. Consider the next step of living compassion by signing up for an Encuentro trip. Visit https://www.encuentromissions.org/ for more information.
To truly live compassion means being ready and willing to have compassion on the next person you run into, regardless of who he or she is or how you feel.
How can you #livecompassion right now?