Last month, we began a little series of thoughts dealing with Stewardship. We began with the thought that the giving Christian gives faithfully. This month we are going to consider the fact that the giving Christian gives compassionately. Then, in the next three months, we will consider the fact that the giving Christian gives gracefully, proportionately and globally.
We hear Jesus promise us again in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." With that promise in mind, I would like to share with you the second thought in our series dealing with the fact that the giving Christian gives compassionately.
Our English word "compassion" comes from two Latin words which literally mean 'to suffer with'. To have compassion is 'to suffer with' other people - to put yourself into their shoes, to feel what they feel, to endure what they endure. This is what Jesus did constantly. So great was His love and concern that He was often "moved to compassion". (Some of the 77 Bible verses that deal with our God's compassion would be Exodus 33:19, 2 Kings 13:23; Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:23, 20:34) Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus gave help and healing to the poor, the diseased and the needy.
God is pleased when we, through faith, do what Jesus did, giving compassionately to those who are less fortunate. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Giving to those who can give nothing back is a spiritually beautiful thing and it honors God. In Acts 10 we have the account of the Roman Centurion by the name of Cornelius. The Bible tells us that "He gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly." (Acts 10:2) In a vision from God an angel said to him, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God." (Acts 10:4)
When a Christian gives compassionately to and for others, it is the same as giving directly to God. "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:40)