Bible Ballistics: BBs #394 Compassion Or Cherry Bombs???
Due to the urgent needs all around us, I’d like to continue today talking about compassion, what it is and what it isn’t (Or rather, what it shouldn’t be!). James talks about one of the things that compassion isn’t; it isn’t just nice words:
“If a brother or sister be naked,
and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them,
Depart in peace,
be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not
those things which are needful
to the body;
what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith,
if it hath not works,
18 Yea, a man may say,
Thou hast faith,
and I have works:
shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith
by my works.” James 2:15-18
Simply put, James is saying that if we have real life-changing faith, it will be seen in our responses to others and their needs. We are not to simply “say” we have compassion, we are to reach out as we talked about last time. Giving ‘Lip-service’ and speak compassionately, isn’t enough; we are to alleviate needs as we are able to. No we can’t meet every need, for everyone, in every way all the time, but God will show us how we can help, if we will but ask for His direction, and listen to His Spirit; sometimes that is just helping someone find the right resources to meet their need.
But there’s something else that compassion isn’t, and that’s ‘grand-standing’! If you’re wondering about our title today, what I want us to consider, is that we ought to have compassion on others and meet needs humbly and generously as we have opportunity, but never for show! Some of us can remember a time when young schoolboys would try sneaking cherry bombs (a small firework that requires no fire, just pop them on the ground and they make a loud bang) into the school. The result was usually loud and mostly comical, but the culprit always made a trip to the principal’s office for appropriate discipline, for they were dangerous to use in enclosed settings like school! But they certainly stole the show, for a few minutes anyway! Some people give just to be seen, or to be noticed or lauded for their deeds. Jesus gives clearly defines appropriate giving and true compassion, as well as the false. Let’s dig in to see what we can learn (‘alms’ is a reference to good works)!
“Take heed that ye do not your alms
to be seen of them:
otherwise ye have no reward
of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms,
do not sound a trumpet before thee,
as the hypocrites do
in the synagogues
and in the streets,
that they may have glory
Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms,
let not thy left hand know
what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret:
and thy Father which seeth in secret
himself shall reward thee
openly.” Matthew 6:1-4
Jesus calls us to a higher standard, to give selflessly without thought of attention or earthly reward. We are to exercise our compassion before “God” without seeking the praise of others. This doesn’t mean that we have to do everything anonymously, but it does mean we are to do things discreetly, without calling attention to ourselves or the gift given. Sometimes it is appropriate to give anonymously, other times it’s necessary to reveal ourselves, but always with humility, without seeking reward or recognition. We could carry this to great depths, but suffice it to say, we are to have pure hearts before God, remembering as we saw in our last post, people won’t always like those of us who are following Jesus; for we are often marching to the beat of a different drummer; the One which the world rejects.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
As the crises seem to multiply exponentially, may our compassion also grow by God’s grace, as we reach out to others humbly, without pride or the desire to be recognized for our deeds? May we be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost world, as we give, and go and serve in Jesus name!
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Go—-See—–Serve others humbly in HIS Name!