Tonight, on the 3rd meeting in a series of revival meetings at Seaford Baptist Church, our guest evangelist Matt Wilkins, spoke about compassion, in teaching the story of the Good Samaritan. Which, of course, got me to thinking…”What role does compassion play in this entity called ‘revival’?”
If revival is about bringing what was once lifeless back to life; if revival is about restoration to strength and vigor; if revival is about a new awakening amongst the church body, both corporate and universal, then compassion plays a tremendously important role.
If revival is a series of meetings to stir up emotionalism and/or play a numbers game, then there is no place for a discussion of compassion.
I believe tonight that compassion was discussed with a real understand of its role in revival, but I’d like to expand on it more here.
If revival occurs in a person’s heart–an individualistic response to our God-than that person should find themselves awakened in areas that may have been long dead. Like compassion. True compassion for another human being is a gift bestowed upon us by God. Hebrews 10:34 states:
34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Read that verse slowly–compassion on those in prison (most likely believers imprisoned for their belief, but I would challenge you to think some about those rightly serving sentences in prision as well). Joyfully–JOYFULLY accepting the plundering of their property because they know they have a better possession and an abiding one in Christ.
Compassion can be very difficult. Inconvenient even. But wasn’t our Jesus compassionate? I don’t have room here for all the times Jesus was compassionate–to the crowds that he fed miraculously, to his disciples (is there a much more compassionate act than that of washing dirty, smelly feet??), to those in need of healing, to the woman who cried at Jesus feet, wiping his feet with her tears and hair. My Jesus was compassionate.
But how does it relate to revival? I think that in order to be compassionate, we must first examine our motives in our compassionate acts. Are we compassionate when someone is looking? Or are we compassionate out of modeling our Savior who has been compassionate to us ultimately by dying on the cross and by granting us grace, so that we can grant grace to those in need?
Compassion is a difficult thing for me. I am not a very compassionate person. And yet I know that I must work harder in this area. I need a revival of my dry soul that will prompt me to be compassionate to those around me, that are placed in my path day by day.
I love this verse in the story of the prodigal son, when the father and the son meet again:
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
“while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and he RAN to him and Embraced him and Kissed him”…..out of compassion for his son, though the son deserved disownment, the son deserved punishment, the son deserved to work as a slave for the household. But none of those things happened, because of compassion and grace.
Compassion is a part of revival because our hearts need to be revived again to have eyes to see and ears to hear where compassion needs to be granted. It’s a part of being revived, of regaining life once again.
‘God please grant me compassion for my children when they are so ill like they are tonight. Grant me compassion for my co-workers as I sit with them in their smoke-filled cars. For friends in need. And God please grant selfish encouragement to my discouraged heart this week, be compassionate toward me, God my father, though I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve your compassion or your grace. At all’