Cultivating a Movement: Be Moved With Compassion!

We’re nearing the end of my sermon series on Cultivating a Movement (see Surrender, Rely on God’s Power, Pursue Holiness, Scatter Seeds, Preserve Unity, and Pray Through).

There is clearly a great deal of need in the world. And, the only organization in the world that truly has the power to change the world is the Church, the body of Christ!

But why aren’t we seeing more change and transformation in the world?

Here are three possible reasons …

  1. We don’t think we can make a difference. Perhaps we see the needs around us, but we don’t help because we feel inadequate, incapable of doing any good for others.
  2. We don’t know where to start. Maybe we see the needs around us, and though we care, we simply have no idea where to start or what to do.
  3. We don’t care. Perhaps we see the needs around us in the world, but we don’t care enough to get involved.

Well, if we’re going to be a movement, we must be moved with compassion. Compassion compels us to get involved and to make a difference!

I love the places in the gospels where we’re told Jesus was moved with compassion. One of those places is in Mark 6 where Jesus feeds thousands of people with a little bit of food. The story begins, “When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6.34).

Rather than sending people home hungry, Jesus instructed his disciples to give them something to eat. With only five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus asked the disciples to seat the people for the meal. Jesus gave the food, which he had blessed, to his disciples, to distribute it to the people seated on the ground. Not only did everyone eat, but there was plenty left over!

And, it all started because Jesus was “moved with compassion.”

Jesus once told a story about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37). In the story, there is a man who’s been robbed and left for dead. After being ignored by a priest and a Levite, a Samaritan (despised in the eyes of Jesus’ listeners) “was moved with compassion” (Luke 10.33). He took care of the wounded man and made arrangements for his recovery. Jesus concluded the story, saying, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10.37).

I’ve also always loved the order of events found in Matthew 9.35-38. We’re told …

Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9.35-36)

Jesus traveled. Jesus saw. Jesus was moved with compassion. Often, we wait to be moved with compassion before we go and see. But if we go and see, we will be moved with compassion!

After seeing the great need, and the great opportunity, Jesus said …

The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest. (Matthew 9.37-38)

God is looking for people who are moved with compassion to make a difference in the world for the kingdom of God. Compassion compels us to get involved and to make a difference! This is why we pray, “Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours!”

Andy Stanley offers some great advice. He says, “Do for one what you wish you could do for many.” This is a great way to avoid feeling paralyzed—not knowing where to start—or wondering what kind of difference you can make. Just start somewhere!

Pray “Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours!” And, then “Do for one what you wish you could do for many!”

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