We would be a wise people indeed if we would allow the truth of God to not only permeate our racing thoughts but also saturate our busy lives. Of particular value to us, not only personally but our world as well, is the fact of God’s fathomless compassion for people.
Consider well how Jesus’ earthly ministry was characterized by tenderly intervening in the needs of people. He was in fact demonstrating the heart of His Father in heaven as He taught, healed, forgave, and encouraged people who were distraught, disowned, disturbed, and despairing. Here in the pivotal turning point of all history was the fulcrum of creation itself, in the Person of the Son of God… full of glorious holiness, infinite in wisdom and power, yet weeping and lamenting the spiritual needs of men and women on planet earth.
His disciples standing by, witness to His compassion and mercy changing the desperate straits of people no matter their gender, age, or rank, became conveyors of that same compassion as they deemed in later years their own lives worth giving up for the salvation of people whose destinies were spiritual destruction.
Is it possible that we who are Christians today have forgotten Jesus’ mission? It was not social reformation (although such reformation can be the happy by-product of a people whose hearts are transformed). It was not political reorganization (although politics had become an unhappy circus of woeful duplicity and needed a major overhaul). Nor was His mission to bring physical healing and the casting out of evil spirits (although He, in His compassion, did these very things). His mission was “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Jesus knows something very important about our future. And what He knows about our future fuels His passion to reach out to the lost in compassion. He knows that lives without Christ are doomed to spiritual destruction, a far worse fate than even the most trying of physical circumstances which are only temporary (see Mark 9:43-48).
So Jesus Himself strove passionately to reach the lost, even to the point that He gave His life on the cross so that the spiritually “lost could be found” and the spiritually “blind may be made to see”, how do we as Christians measure up? Do we share in His sorrow? Do we take to heart the knowledge that hell is the final destination of many of our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family members?
Jesus grieved over the impending desolation of Jerusalem, approaching because of their refusal to receive Him for Who He is. Jesus’ heart ached over the spiritual need of men and women, boys and girls, because they were (and are) “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36b). Jesus’ sorrow over the spiritual lostness of billions of people today has not diminished nor gone cold. His Spirit is even now moving throughout the world, working to bring the lost home to faith in Christ.
If you are truly in earnest in seeking to personally grow in your relationship with God, then you must engage this quality about Him: “He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b).
And as you engage this quality by reflecting on it, digesting it, and taking it up as your own, you will remember that Jesus’ knowledge of what the future holds for someone who has not received Him as Savior and Lord moved Him to compassionately reach out to the lost. We also have been given a glimpse of the future and must also allow His passion to become our passion.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him (the Father) Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). If you have “crossed over from death to life”, then will you not now allow the holy and tender compassion of your Savior swell in your heart and move you to share your hope with others? In addition to the things for which you pray that are only “temporary” since they perhaps last only as long as this physical life lasts, will you not also add to your prayer list the “forever” needs of others, interceding on their behalf for the power of God to soften their hearts to the truth of His Gospel?
Take up your post today as a “pray-er” (that is to say, “interceder”) for others’ spiritual needs and believe that God can tame the wildest lives, breakthrough to the hardest of hearts, and speak through the most deaf of spiritual ears. Be a part today of that invisible army of men and women who lift up those who are lost.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 16 ½ years and is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables and Crimson Harvest. He is the pastor of Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at email@example.com).