I have been blessed to live without need due to having a good job for most of my life. But I have also been blessed to live “in need”. There was a time where I had no place to live, I had no food, and I had expenses beyond what I could take care of. I have had much and I have had little.
You may ask how I can say that I’ve been blessed in both cases. Certainly when we live in abundance it’s easy to say that we are blessed. But when we are in dire need, can we say the same thing? I have learned that we can. Years ago I was at a point in my life where I had lost everything. I won’t go into that story, but I had made choices that led to my destruction. But there was a reason for me to be in need. The reason was so that I could see the blessing.
Sometimes it takes the hardest situations in order for your attention to be captured. That was me. When I lived in abundance, I felt that I could conquer the world. And unfortunately I lived like I could too. Then the day came when I realized that the world had hit me with its best shot and I was down for the count. I was knocked out. My undefeated record was shattered. When I woke up, I had lost everything.
I was at times pitiful. Yes, the successful young man was now down and out. The world would call me a loser. People around me said that they felt bad for me. People even said that they would never want to be in the place that I was in. Maybe some would even said that I “had it coming”. I don’t know. I was pitiful. The friends and family that I had around me found great pity for my situation.
Have you ever thought of what you would do if all you had were the clothes on your back with no place to live? That was where I was. I had two beautiful children. My situation led me to a place where I couldn’t see them any longer because I had no place to call home
There is a difference between pity and compassion. I had heard a lot of pity in people’s voices. I didn’t know that there was even an attribute called compassion. Until it happened. Mercy was poured out on me and over my circumstance. Out of nowhere, compassion came into my life.
A friend of mine at work heard of my situation and was moved with compassion. You see, mercy is compassionate. It’s not like pity at all. Mercy stepped into my situation. This man found it important to see that I would recover. He gave me a place to live. Well, I had a bedroom and a bathroom in a house that was being refurbished. I didn’t have to pay for anything right then, but when the house was finished, I would be given the chance to rent it and continue living there. If not, I would have to leave.
It was unbelievable to me. Someone cared enough to act. Someone looked beyond my situation and saw the greater need. I had learned something of great value that day. I realized that compassion was real. It was so much more than pity.
Compassion is to enter into someone else’s pain, to enter into their suffering to relieve them from that pain and lift them out of their painful situation. This reminds me of the story of the leper in the Book of Mark, Chapter 1, verses 40-45. “A man with leprosy came to Jesus and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. “Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”
This leper lived a life where everyone had pity on him. The Bible says that he had to announce himself to everyone as “Unclean” upon seeing someone, as written in the Law. (Leviticus 13:45) But no one would show him compassion until the day the leper came to Jesus. Jesus, filled with compassion, reached out His hand and touched the leper and he was healed. The leper asked if Jesus was willing. He knew that no one else was willing. The people had pity but kept away. Jesus not only told the leper He was willing but touched him. Jesus stepped into the leper’s pain, his humiliation, his circumstance and immediately changed it. My coworker stepped into my pain, humiliation and circumstance and immediately changed it.
More importantly, Jesus did the same thing for you and for me. He took upon Himself our sin so that we could live again. Jesus took upon Himself our pain, our humiliation, our circumstance and changed it when He died for us and rose from the grave. Jesus looked upon each of us and was moved with compassion.
If you would like to hear the powerful message from Pastor Aaron Taylor on the Miracle of Mercy – Love in Action, please click on the podcast link below.
Friends, who are the ones you see that need compassion. Are they physically challenged? Are they financially challenged? Have they lost everything and need a place to call home? Who are the ones who think that they don’t belong here or they’re not worthy of anything? The leper asked Jesus a question: Are you willing? The question today is are we willing? Can we care enough to act? The Bible says this, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”