Compassion- Fueled Generosity

As we follow Jesus, we are called to pursue holiness. But this pursuit must not be rooted in our desire to be great.

For example, in the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19, Jesus tells the man to sell everything he owns before following him. It’s a profound request, one that typically leads us to ask this is what Jesus expects of us and our stewardship.

Without going too in-depth, I’d offer that Jesus specifically addressed an issue in the life of the Rich Young Ruler. He had possessions, but he was not stewarding them well. He did not have the heart necessary to allocate those resources so Jesus knew it would be better if they weren’t there to impede his spiritual life.

It's not just how we steward our resources, but what truly motivates us to manage them well. Perhaps the main driver of our generosity ought to be compassion.

In the New Testament, we constantly read that Jesus had compassion for the people He served. In Matthew 9, we see that Jesus had compassion on them because they were like “sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus saw the hurt and the helplessness of the people and was motivated to do something.

The English word “compassion” stems from the Latin compati which means, “to suffer with.”

Jesus was so sensitive to other’s suffering, that he added it to His own. Similarly, as we walk with Christ, we must be observant of the situations of those around us and, as the apostle Paul commands in Galatians 6, “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.”

This is obviously easier said than done. Most of us are surrounded by people with needs and it forces the question: how can our hearts be big enough to show Christ-like compassion? Admittedly, there are no easy answers. But as we contemplate how to be more compassionate, I offer three suggestions.

1. Think eternally

As we mentioned in the article on stewardship, the message of the gospel transforms the way we manage our resources. All our financial decisions should be made under the umbrella that the present world is fleeting. Compassion will sometimes force us to set aside sound financial logic because of the urgency of a need in our midst. It’s OK to make what the world would call a foolish decision if we’re doing so to be more like Jesus.

2. Trust locally

All Christians are called to be part of a local church. It’s key, then, that we trust the leadership of your church with financial gifts. Nearly every church allocates part of their budget to meet the needs of those in the community. When we give to the local church, we’re combining our resources with other like-minded believers to show compassion at an exponential level.

3. Take it globally

Our compassion should extend even beyond our visible landscape. We have brothers and sisters in Christ around the world that desperate need the resources at our disposal. Being mindful of the work of missionaries in foreign lands will help us practice compassion in even more robust ways.

The prayer of Lamentations 3:22,23 is one that should inspire us to do even better.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”