Rediscovering the Power of Compassion in Ministry
January 27, 2021
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28f).
People tired in body and weary in mind want nothing more than the rest Jesus provides. They may not understand that soul rest is found only in Jesus, but like C.S. Lewis who discovered “joy” when he met Jesus, people also discover “rest” when they meet Jesus.
“Weary and burdened” is an apt description of people today. Who among us has not felt sad in recent days? Sadness is often an individual feeling, evoked by events in our personal lives. But sadness, weariness, describe the mood of the nation, even the world.
Every day I speak with pastors. Every week I correspond with people in other nations. Often they express weariness. Those who know Jesus have a perspective and spiritual resources others don’t have. Still, there is weariness.
One pastor told me that he has rediscovered the “power of compassion.” He said, “With all that people are going through, I am seeing that simple acts of kindness, praying with first responders, thanking a person for what they do, is received in a more heartfelt way than in times past.
The power of compassion, indeed. I’ve seen it in neighbors who are grateful for my wife’s ministry to their children. We’ve heard testimony from believers who have prayed for their nurses while lying in a hospital bed, prompting tears from one with a weary heart. We’ve seen gratitude when asking a store clerk how they are doing, or when showing concern for a small business owner struggling to stay afloat.
It’s always true that people are hurting. But what is always true is amplified today. So, how will you show compassion toward someone in these difficult times? Perhaps you could write a note, or make a phone call, to a senior adult who is a Covid-shut-in. They haven’t hugged a grandchild, or shaken the hand of a friend, in almost a year. You probably have a neighbor in that situation.
Many children are really struggling as well. Perhaps you could teach a neighbor child a new game? Maybe an old game that you played as kid?
Do you miss seeing the servers at your favorite restaurant? Recently a couple took us to lunch and douled the server’s usual tip. He said, “I know these folks are struggling. I want to bless them, so I’ve been doubling my tips the last few months.” Compassion.
Difficulty provides opportunity. We’ve probably never had a better opportunity to demonstrate compassion toward people.
By the way, I want to thank you, Northwest Baptists, for how you are caring for your pastors and staff. These men and women aren’t “bullet-proof.” Some are very weary and deeply burdened as they care for their church and family. Sometimes they need to unburden by talking to a godly, biblical counselor. That is one of the services provided by the Northwest Baptist Convention, thanks to your faithful mission giving.
We need healthy leaders to have healthy churches. When pastors rest their souls in Jesus, and experience compassion from others, they are equipped to provide ministry to their people.
Even in this difficult day, especially in this day, it is a blessing to serve Jesus with you in the Northwest.