Be Still and Know

Day 12 - Issue 32

January 16, 2020

Mark 6:34 NLT

'Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.'

Compassion is the gift of feeling the pain of another. It touches our emotions and resonates within our understanding. When compassion and mercy work together, we offer support, help and encouragement to another without demanding anything in return. Compassion moves our hearts while mercy initiates our response.

The greatest challenge the Christian faith presents to our society is to the selfishness that drives the ‘me first’ movement. The advertising industry never fails to market on the basis of my own self-interest. It stirs up my selfish desire to have something for myself. Somewhere a feeling of guilt might stir, but I challenge this mere emotion with a reasonable justification that I deserve something. If I become aware of the disparity between my fortune and another’s I may seek to explain my good fortune away with a phrase such as: “I’m so lucky.”

Jesus invites me to allow compassion to complete its work within my heart. Compassion invites a merciful response, free of judgement and justification. Mercy seeks to respond to a person, not to explain the reasons for their predicament. There may well be issues of responsibility, but these are best dealt with once the obvious need is addressed.

I all too easily become consumed with my own selfishness, a product of my fear, comparison with others, advantage or pleasure. Jesus invites me (Luke 6:36) to be compassionate and merciful as a reflection of God’s nature.

You will not want to face the fact of your own selfishness. None of us wants to. Yet, until you engage with compassion and mercy, your life horizon will stretch no further than your own front door. The call to journey from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth is not purely geographical. It is a metaphor for the degree to which your heart is open to serving God.

QUESTION: Will you make that journey from your own front door?

PRAYER: Thank you for your compassion and mercy towards me and for sending your Son, Jesus, to rescue me and show me a new way to live.