By Dr. Cindy Townsend
3 Keys to Compassionate Living
The popular movie It’s a Wonderful Life has a message for all who want their lives to count for something. The main character, George Bailey, wondered if his life really amounted to anything and if he had made any difference at all in this world. An angel came and took him on the journey of his past life to see what it would have been like if he had never existed. Near the end of the movie, George realizes his simple, compassionate life had encouraged many people. He was able to see how his life had made a difference in his family and community. George was encouraged as he saw the difference his kind words and compassionate deeds had made in the lives of those around him.
Maybe you have felt like George at times. All of us want our lives to count for something significant. As you discover the following “Keys to Compassionate Living,” you will begin your journey to a life of real purpose.
Key #1: Find a need in the world for which you have a passion. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
A compassionate servant is compelled by a heartfelt love for the Lord to help those in need. Where do you want to make a specific difference? Is your passion to minister to the elderly, children, singles, young people, married couples, homeless, widows, or orphans? Will your compassionate heart take you to your neighbor’s front door or to a foreign land? Many Christians hear the cry of people living in poverty, depression, jails, dumps, oppression, and a desire to make their world better. Whatever the need that captures your heart, remember God can work miracles through you. If every Christian will do their part, the world will come face to face with the love of Christ.
Key #2: Seek to meet the need. (1 John 3:16-18)
After you discover a need for which you have a passion, it is time to take action and ask the Lord to help you meet that need. Throughout time, God has used people filled with compassion to change the world in His name. Let us reflect upon some of the many heroes of the faith and see how their lives made a difference. Had it not been for specific men and women on mission to meet specific needs, many people would have lived and died without hope in Christ.
Had it not been for the compassion of Esther, the Jews may have never known the provision of the Lord for their people.
Had it not been for the compassion of Ruth, Naomi may have been abandoned and left friendless.
Had it not been for compassion of Paul and Peter, the gospel may have never spread so rapidly to the Gentile world.
Had it not been for the compassion of Lottie Moon, many women and children in China would have never had their personal needs met in the name of Christ.
Had it not been for the compassion of Amy Lancaster, people in parts of inner city Jackson, Mississippi would not have havens to find faith, hope, love, food, and spiritual food.
Had it not been for the compassion of Billy Graham, millions would have never heard the good news of hope in Jesus Christ.
Had it not been for the compassion of Mother Teresa, the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India would have never felt God’s tender touch of love.
Who knows, one day you may hear someone in heaven say, “Had it not been for the compassion of (your name), I would have never known the love of the Lord.”
Key #3: Trust God for the results and give Him the glory (Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 1:9)
The Christian missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, said, “God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” You can be assured that the God who led you to the need will be faithful to provide a way for the need to be met. Trust God to show you His way in His time. Join the band of bold servants who are on mission to take the compassion of Jesus to a hurting world, one person at a time!
Dr. Townsend is the Minister of WMU/WEM Women’s Ministries at First Baptist Church, Jackson. She is a child of God, wife, mom of two adult children, minister, freelance writer, and speaker. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.