There is a difference between planned compassion and natural compassion.
Often, the church puts programs into place, and people come and volunteer in the programs. The programs act too meet their benevolence goals for the year. People then put the planned compassion on their calendars, and wait for the day to arrive. When the day finally comes, and if something else pops up that is a little more important, they simply plan it for another day… after all, it’s a program, and it will be available to do the next time.
On the other hand, finding yourself in a divine moment that is not planned is much different. God has brought you there, and put you right in the middle of a choice to reject Him or not to reject Him. You can’t plan that on a calendar. It must be obeyed. In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks of taking care of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.
The people then answer Him and say, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we wee you sick or in prison and visit you? Then, Jesus says, “I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” It was so natural; they had to ask when.
I’m not saying that programs, such as feeding programs, are wrong. After all, when I was Pastor of Providence Christian Center in San Francisco for 14 years, we served 600 meals each Sunday, and gave away 500 boxes of food each Friday. What I am saying is…if your neighbor is hungry and you walk by them on your way to a program at your church without helping them you have missed God trying to show you an opportunity to feed HIM.
Don’t neglect planned compassion, it is important. However, keep your ears open for God to speak and show you an un-planned act of compassion. You just might be surprised how often He will speak.
Read Matthew 25 and then go and do.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment.