compassion in action

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:17-18, NLT) 

Does today’s passage convict you? It sure convicts me. This week we have been looking at Jesus’ pasarble of the Good Samaritan and what it means to be a neighbor (you can read it by clicking here). It is all centered in love, because a neighbor is anyone to whom you can show kindness and mercy. When someone is in need, circumstances and boundaries get crowded out by the great commandment to love God and others with all we have and are.

While reading the parable of the Good Samaritan, you will note that our unlikely hero took pity on the man who was beaten and left in the hands of robbers (Luke 10:33). My guess is the priest and Levite felt sorry for the victim, too, but they kept on walking because they didn’t want to get their hands dirty. What set the Samaritan apart, however, was the fact that his pity turned into in action. He used his resources to care for the victim’s wounds, take him to an inn, and provide for his care as long as necessary. The Good Samaritan didn’t just feel pity for the beaten man, he turned his compassion into action.

This point from Jesus’ parable becomes the take-away action point for each of us. A neighbor is anyone to whom you can show kindness and mercy, but you must actually do it. It is one thing to feel badly for someone in trouble, and something else altogether to do something to help, and help can come in the form of many different things. Show up, and give your presence. Help with finances to provide assistance for real felt needs. Cook a meal. Watch a child. Mow a lawn. Offer a prayer, and not just the platitude that you will, yet never do. Feel that compassion, and turn it into action. This is the go and do likewise instruction from Jesus’ teaching, and speaks into our very lives today.

So, as we finish this week’s journey through the parable of the Good Samaritan, remember that love of God and others must be your focus. Your neighbor is anyone to whom you can show kindness and mercy. So do it! Follow-through. Turn your compassion into action. Go and do as Jesus taught and modeled. Be a neighbor!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the ability to feel pity for people in times of need. Forgive me for the times I did not put my compassion into action. Help me to see my neighbor as anyone to whom I can be kind and merciful, and show me ways to put my compassion into action. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.