Compassion – Caring Like Jesus

Because God loves you, God cares for you … and through His care, you are equipped to care for others.  This “Jesus style” of caring is called compassion.  And by Christ’s compassion you can help to create a more just world.

 

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

One of the most dramatic sea stories ever written is told in Acts 27.  Though Luke’s detailed accuracy was the best from his day, what astounds us is how one of the passengers in the story trusted God enough to care enough to turn a shipwreck into a triumph.

 

The passenger’s name was Paul.  He was being transported as a prisoner from Caesarea of Israel to stand trial before Caesar in Rome. Luke, as a fellow believer, friend and attending physician – cared enough for Paul & the gospel that he voluntarily chose to make the journey. 

 

From this story, we see how caring connects us to other people.  And as we feel Christ’s compassion, we can make a Christ like difference by how we enact our caring.  And by enough Christians caring, we release God’s mercy so the world around us can be more loving, trusting, and just.

 

How can we apply this in our lives?

 

Through Awareness – We are all in this boat of life together.  People from different parts of the country & stations were on the boat with Paul.  But if the boat sank they would sink into the same dangerous sea.  We need each other.  Paul’s caring helped these 276 souls aboard the ship to act as one.

 

Through Action – Our own needs inform us that others have needs.  And that we can help others even as we ourselves need help.  Even as a sail uses wind to power the ship, compassion uses our circumstance to power our lives.

 

Through Actualization – Compassionate people make our world more just.  The centurion protected Paul because of Paul’s influence on his sense of right & wrong.  The centurion then gave compassionate and wise orders that saved all the passengers.

 

An Illustration

Ian Smith of Scotland led the musical experience in worship when I was one of the speakers for the International Baptist Convention in Switzerland.  He is a gifted composer, singer, and musician.  One of his songs particularly grabbed me.  It’s entitled “All I Know.”

 

The heart of the song goes:

Though I feel afraid of territory unknown,

I know that I can say that I do not stand alone.

For Jesus, You have promised Your presence in my heart;

I cannot see the ending, but it’s here that I must start.

And all I know is You have called me, and that I will follow is all.

A ship that’s in the harbour is still and safe from harm,

But it was not built to be there, It was made for wind and storm.

(lyrics & sheet music downloaded from www.littlemistymusic.com)

 

The song requires us to sing of the tension we all feel.  How do we turn our fear into faith, and faith into faithfulness and our faithfulness into caring?  The tension is felt when we feel as “a ship that’s in the harbour is still and safe from harm.”  When we are in faith’s harbor we are re-fitting our life and updating our call for the next voyage – not to stay in the harbor in order to feel safe.      Once the harbor work is completed, we are called out by “what lies across the waves,” even though it “may cause my heart to fear.”

 

Why?  Because our life, as the ship, was not made to stay in the harbor but “it was made for wind and storm.”

 

Our fear finds a resting place in knowing that our purpose in God’s presence leads to our mission – caring like Jesus “Jesus, You have promised Your presence in my heart; I cannot see the ending, but it’s here that I must start.  And all I know is You have called me, and that I will follow is all I can say.  I will go where You will send me.”

 

Pastor Les Hollon

 

When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.

- Acts 27:1 (NIV)

 

On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic[a] Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.

Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.

- Acts 27:27-36 (NIV)

 

But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.

- Acts 27:41-44 (NIV)

 

This article was written by Les Hollon, Pastorof Trinity Baptist Church.  For more information about God and your place in His world, contact Dr. Hollon, click over to Trinity Baptist Church.

 

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Posted on 11 May, 2010 in Inspirational Stories, Spirituality
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