Love and Compassion
If we look at our culture that continually reinforces the idea that we see the world as a place to satisfy our prideful desires of comfort, wealth, power and possessions, can we honestly say our motivation for compassion is always to glorify God, not self? There are times when showing compassion is comfortable and convenient, but true loving kindness happens when it is not convenient, and your passion is to glorify Christ with love.
This became clear a few years ago while working in the Kibera slum in Kenya. It had been a long day in the clinic and on the way home Christ wanted to teach me about genuine compassion and the effort required to show His love.
We drove by a man who had collapsed on a dirt road and was having a seizure. As we drove by the scene many walked around him, and we looked at each other in disbelief. When I think back, shamefully my first thought was how tired I was and honestly trying to convince myself that someone would surely stop to help him.
What did Christ see in me?
Our driver Jake and pastor Ken inspired me with their concern and without a second thought turned the van around to help this man. When we reached the man, he had stopped seizing, and he was able to tell us he had run out of his seizure medication.
After a few minutes the man seemed as though he was doing much better; however, the voice in my head was struggling with my desire to get back to our mission house and the quiet nudging of the Holy Spirit to recall the bible story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10: 25-33.
In this story, an expert in the law asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. The Lawyer confirmed we were to love the Lord with all our heart and all our soul. It was the second part of Christ’s answer that I was challenged with on this day, to love your neighbor as yourself. Then the man asked who is my neighbor?
Jesus then told the story of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30-37: In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
How many times was I the Levite or the priest and knew someone who needed help, but it was not convenient? How many times have I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do something, but I was just too busy.
We stopped, helped the man up, and after hearing his situation, the question was have we shown love and compassion so that he was able to see Christ in us?
The example of the good Samaritan was challenging me to see this through the eyes of Christ and not let the story Christ was writing end here. With the inspiring compassion of Jake and Pastor Ken, we took him to a pharmacy, and we were able to buy his seizure medicine. Now, finally are we at a place that we have done all Jesus had asked to love our neighbor?
Would he make it home?
Do we leave this man who had just had a seizure walk home alone?
What If it were my family member?
The Good Samaritan not only cleaned his wounds but took him to an inn and gave money to care for him. In following God’s story, we made sure he was safe, took him home, prayed with him and left him in the care of his wife.
When the Holy Spirit is speaking to us in a quiet whisper sometimes, we need the body of Christ to help give us the inspiration and discernment of how far we must go to show compassion when it’s not convenient. Thanks to Jake and Pastor Ken their love of Christ allowed us to show true compassion when it wasn’t convenient.
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For His Glory,
Dr. Tom is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician in the USA with over 25 years of experience and an ordained minister by Southeast Christian Church in Louisville Kentucky. His true passion is world missions and he and his wife Karen are the founders of Teach To Transform, an organization that exists to equip partners around the world with medical and vocational skills they can use to share the gospel of Christ. You can subscribe to Dr. Tom’s weekly blog, Divine Appointments, to read more stories and learn more about the mission of Teach To Transform.