“Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to the man who encountered the robbers?” He answered, “The one who showed compassion and mercy to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and constantly do the same.”
“I’ve got to get on a plane to Colorado.” Say what? My husband had clearly forgotten that we had a busy weekend with four young kids full of sporting events and activities. Not to mention a messy house and a mischievous puppy to keep out of trouble. You would think with all of that in front of him, he needed a trip away, and maybe he did. But pressing on his heart was the news that a childhood friend was on the brink of losing his marriage. His first reaction was to get on a plane and go.
The questions swirled. My practical mind put a quick halt to his seemingly crazy idea. Yes, I know his eagerness was to be there for a friend in great need. But what about the kids and me, the cost of this last-minute plane ticket, the fact his friend was so ashamed he didn’t want to see him? “Let’s not rush into this,” I said.
My husband had been praying and felt the Holy Spirit telling him to travel to see his friend. I was not there yet. I couldn’t see past the inconvenience, expense, and seeming spontaneity of this decision.
Then, everything changed for me. I received a message from our friend’s desperately hurting wife. Woman to woman, I heard her pain, felt her broken heart, and listened to her cry for help. Her plea matched my husband’s prompting. “I’ve been praying for someone to fly out here to help us.” At that moment, my heart changed. I was able to see through a lens of compassion, and I was moved to respond. I text my husband right away, “You need to buy that plane ticket.”
Over and over again in the Gospels, Jesus sees the need of specific people. It didn’t always make sense to the disciples or the people around him. It wasn’t always practical. Where they may not have noticed, Jesus saw individuals; their pain, their questions, their desperation, and their brokenness. His heart was moved with compassion.
In Luke 10, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A man lies beaten on the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite walked right past him. Interestingly, Jesus does not say the priest and Levite were horrible people. In fact, they were very religious, but they were also probably busy. They may have considered the man lying on the side of the road to be an interruption to their ministry or things to get done. But, what if he was supposed to be their mission that day? What if they missed God’s voice telling them to have compassion and take action?
How often are we also people consumed with keeping our schedules, commitments, and having our own needs met? How often do we miss the person right in front of us who needs help? Situations outside of our comfort zone, outside of what seems practical or even safe, are an immediate call to prayer. Jesus never called us to comfort, but instead asks us to see the needs around us, and be moved to compassion, to be moved to action, and to align our heart to His.
My husband did head off to Colorado to be with his friend. As a little gift from God, our family stepped in to help get kids where they needed to be, friends generously offered to help pay for the plane ticket, and we all did just fine. Even the puppy. It was a bit messy and didn’t work out perfectly, but guess what? There was great joy in my heart because I knew we were following the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Peace replaced questions. It truly is a gift to be in the middle of the will of Jesus and play a small part in His plan. So today, let’s allow ourselves to be challenged. Let’s ask Jesus to open our eyes and show us where he is leading our hearts to love others and have the courage to move in that direction.
The following are lyrics from the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong. May we offer these words as a simple prayer to Jesus. A prayer to see through a lens of compassion, to abide in His leading, and to take His love to the world around us.
“Hosanna, in the highest,
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity.”
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Erica Clark has been a part of the Commonway Church community for the past 15 years. She loves the friendships she has made through small groups, Bible studies, and volunteering at Commonway. Erica married her next-door neighbor Nate , and together they have four children; Hannah, Seth, Hope, and Drew. She loves being a stay at home mom, taking walks with their puppy Rosie, and the day to day adventures with her family.