The compassion of Jesus is what caused him to send out his disciples into the world. He told them to minister specifically to Jews. Israel’s house needed to be put in order first before they could ever think of going to the Gentiles. There were a host of lost Jewish people all around them, so Jesus made it a priority to go after them. Our own backyard needs attention, to be reached, before the world can be tackled.
Jesus told his disciples to do exactly what he had been doing: preach, heal, and proclaim that the kingdom of God is near. Furthermore, Jesus told them to leave all their baggage behind; don’t take anything with you. The disciples were to be stripped of everything so that they could see people and be moved with compassion as Jesus was moved.
If we take all of our pre-packaged stuff with us into relationships, we already assume we know what they need. But if we have nothing with us, then we are able to see people for who they are, and listen to what they are saying. People are not objects for our missional purposes; they are persons created in God’s image who have been profoundly touched by the world’s brokenness and desperately need the compassion of Jesus.
Followers of Jesus have freely received compassion from God; therefore they are to freely give it away. May you courageously rearrange your life so that compassion toward others can be your defining characteristic.
Compassionate God, you have graciously saved me by your sheer mercy. May I freely and compassionately give as generously as you have given to me so that Jesus is glorified, your church is encouraged, and your world is loved. Amen.