Summary: How can we address the sea of humanity that is now pressing upon us for assistance?
A Passion for Compassion
Defend the weak and fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
The world that you and I live in is a world that is harsh, cold, and hard when it comes to the needs of the poor, the sick, the orphans and the widows created by war, disease and famine. As Christians we respond in ways that are very different from the world that has created these desperate situations. As Christians we respond with the love of Christ, a love that is self-sacrificing and a love that is filled with compassion towards the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.
It is our distinct way of responding to these needy ones that sets us apart in our attitude and character. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote several books and one that I found interesting was “What if Jesus had Never been Born?” In that book Rev. Dr. Kennedy goes on to list the many positive social changes that were promoted by Jesus and found their way into the life and activities of the Christian church.
He tells of a particular incident in history that serves as an example of how we the church should see the poor and destitute.
“St. Laurence was a deacon in the Christian church, who was quite generous, especially to the poor. He lived in Aragon (Spain) of the Roman Empire of the third century. During one of the persecutions, he was ordered to bring to a Roman official some of “the treasures of the Church”. What he brought were some poor, downtrodden and lame people, and he said of them, “These are the treasures of the Church”. For this response, he was roasted to death on a gridiron.” Pg. 28 Chapter 3 What if Jesus had never been born” D. James Kennedy 1994 Nelson Publishers U.S.A.
In Dr. Kennedy’s home state of Florida there exists today a shelter for the homeless named after St. Laurence where people can get a meal, shelter, use a P.O. Box for an address, write a resume, get help with counseling, job searches, telephone access, showers and clothing. In short they are restored out of love so that they can re-enter society to serve others.
This is the kind of compassion that Jesus demonstrated throughout His ministry. It is the kind of compassion that Jesus illustrated for us in the Parable of “The Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:25-37.
Last week we looked at God’s compassion toward all of humanity as God holds out Salvation to all and to whosoever will. Our Heavenly Father does not wish to destroy life but rather desires to save life since He is the author of life. We the Church are called the “Children of God” and as God’s children we are to emulate our Father's character as life savers. For this reason we try to love and serve others the way Jesus did – selflessly.