Summary: As the church looks outwardly let us be people of compassion for other people.
External Focus: Showing Compassion
I learn more and more about the importance of being honest with ourselves, especially concerning our relationship with Christ. I think that sometimes we as the church live an idealistic life. We don’t like to admit faults; we are too stoic and proud to confess sin to one another sometimes. Perhaps the bottom line is sometimes we just are not satisfied with mere humanity. You would think from the way that some people act and speak that they feel as if they are deity. On top of that sometimes we are so inwardly focused on our wants, needs and preferences we often fail to have that look outwardly that will cause us to have compassion on others. We can never be the compassionate people we should be if we are looking inwardly more than we are outwardly. I believe we need to not just be willing to do good, but we need to seek out opportunities to show to people the compassion that we have because of Jesus.
To be honest with you I do not like the fact that I am a fallen creature. I do not like the fact that I wrestle and struggle daily with sin. I do not like the fact that I neglect doing many of the things that God calls me to do. I just don’t like the fact that I am a fallen being that falls short of the glory of God. I don’t know if I do not like it because I don’t like that God knows those things about me, or because I may come to the conclusion that I am not perfect, or because others may realize that I am a sinner. I hope that you may be able to identify with me through this message.
I love the story of a fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California, that had fourteen boys who had no hair. Only one, however, had no choice in the matter. Ian O’Gorman, was undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, and all his hair was falling out... so he had his head shaved. But then 13 of his classmates shaved their heads, so Ian wouldn’t feel out of place.
Ten-year-old Kyle Hanslik started it all. He talked to some other boys, and before long they all trekked to the barbershop. "The last thing he would want is to not fit in," said Kyle. "We just wanted to make him feel better."
This morning I want to confess something that I struggle with, something, which I believe, has application to everyone. I will admit that perhaps this is a sermon that I need to hear more than others need to hear, but I do believe that our struggles may be more similar than we would like to admit.
When Stephanie was pregnant with Hannah she went into the hospital with Kidney stones. They discharged her late one evening and she was excited to be able to go home. As we were leaving the hospital I looked and noticed that we were low on gas. It was late at night and we weren’t in the area of town where I felt most comfortable, but nevertheless we stopped to get gas. As we pulled into the gas station a lady approached me as I got out of the car and began to carry on a conversation with me. The whole time I kept thinking that this lady wasn’t all there. I wanted more than anything else for her just to leave me alone, we were tired, ready to go home, and just wanted a few dollars of gas. I just didn’t feel like being bothered.
Over the last little bit I am learning some things. I am learning that the Kingdom of God is about people. I am learning that God is all about people. I am learning that the church is about people. I am learning that my role as an evangelist is about people. Sometimes I do not handle people the way that I should. I don’t like to admit it, but sometimes I struggle to love people and to show compassion like Christ did. Does anyone else feel the same way? After all, Jesus said the second greatest command was to love our neighbor as our self.
Different people have different personalities and some people seem to have a natural ability and desire to show compassion to people. These people’s hearts break over those that are in need and hurting. Some people are compassionate people. I must admit that sometimes I am not as compassionate as I would like to be or as I should be. As you read through the gospels you can see that people is what mattered the most to God in the flesh. You can see that Jesus loved people in an amazing way, he loved and treated people like no one else in His Society ever did or ever since then. On Eight separate occasions in Jesus’ ministry the gospel writers specifically mention that Jesus felt compassion on the crowds. Obviously Jesus was moved to compassion many other times and probably many other times that the Scriptures do not even record.