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Compassion Sunday

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When I was in High School, I had the opportunity be a part of a Medical Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic. The plan was to open a clinic and hospital to give much-needed healthcare to people who greatly needed it.

Before leaving the country we were told, the kids over there will come in pacts begging for things like soap, toothbrushes, pencils, and pens.

Once we arrived, as we drove down the road, I looked out into a village here and there.

As I watched I saw kids playing in the nude, kids bathing outside, families hanging around outside because they didn’t have a home to go inside of. 

Some families lived together in these lean to type buildings. 

All of this was just the beginning and my heart was feeling something, which I had never really felt before.

 It was this deep longing to help these kids, these families. My heart longed to help them both physically and spiritually.

This feeling

Some call it compassion, which is defined as a loving sympathy for someone in need.

Mark 1 says that Jesus was filled with compassion when he healed a man with leprosy.

In Luke 7 we find that Jesus’ heart went out to a widow whose son had died, and Jesus said, don’t cry and then gave her son new life.

C. S. Lewis calls this kind of love charity, or a Divine Gift love, a love that is most like God’s love for us.

He says that it is a love that only desires the best for the beloved.

 He goes on to say that it is a love that we can have for both those who are naturally lovably, but also we can have this love for those who are unlovable, or even those we don’t really know.

I experienced this kind of love once when I was on a Christian renewal retreat. This weekend God had poured out his love on me, but it was at the very end when I truly experienced it.

At the end of the weekend, they gave to each of us a bag of letters. I sat there by myself reading, some letters from friends and family, who I knew loved me, then there were those letters, many many letters, that said, Dear Matt you have not met me yet, but I want you to know that I love you and I have been praying for you over the past six months that God would speak to you this weekend. That is the kind of love we are speaking of today. A love that knows no conditions. Take a moment and think. Have you ever experienced this kind of love? Maybe from a friend or family member who you hurt, and they responded with love, or maybe is was a stranger or someone you simply did not know very well, shared God’s love with you with a hug, a handshake, a call or a note.

In scripture this word in the original language is agape, but for those of you who are as simple minded as myself you probably simply call it love.

Or as the movie princess bride says, its love- true love.

It is an unconditional and unfailing love.

      Jesus showed this kind of love in abundance all through scripture, to friends and to strangers.

He loved the sick, when He made them well. He shared his love with some blind people by giving them sight. He helped the lame walk. He even shares this kind of love with us, when we hurt, when we are sick, even when we are spiritually dead, he loved us by dying for us.

Jesus is, indeed, our perfect model when it comes to this unconditional and unfailing love.

      In Luke 18, we find that Jesus’ heart goes out to children. He loves these children in a way others were not willing to.

Lets read Luke 18:15-17.

     

In this passage we find people had been so impressed at what Jesus could do, that they wanted to bring their babies in order that Jesus might do something special for them as well.

When this happened the disciples were somewhat insulted or appalled that people would bother Jesus with such a thing as little children and even babies so that Jesus might touch them. In their eyes Jesus was too important and didn’t need to be bother with this kind of thing.

However, in this story we find that Jesus thought differently. Jesus didn’t think selfishly at all, but in his unconditional love, said no let them come.  I want to see them and love them.

And according to the book of Mark, Jesus took them into his arms, and he laid hands on them, and blessed them. He then said, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to kids like this.

This is love, compassion, true love, God-love.

While I was in the Dominican Republic the kids did come in pacts.

When we arrived there were lines down the street of people waiting to be seen, and all around the buildings were kids. We could look out the window and there were kids hanging from the windows trying to get our attention.

We had many opportunities to give them some gifts and help them in other ways, but there was one little girl who touched my heart even more than the others. She was a young patient She, maybe 2 or 3 years old, and she had been brought in with a huge sis on the side of her head.

I brought the girl into the surgical room, once she had been prepped, and the good Dr. had me hold this girl as he removed the sis.

When he finished he looked at me, and said Matt why don’t you go hold her in the recovery room until its time for her to go home. My heart had gone out to this girl, and I wanted nothing more to comfort her, take care of her, and love her until she could be loved and comforted by someone else.

That time with the little girl, probably more that any other time in my life, God put this kind of love in my heart, this true love, compassion, or as C.S. Lewis says, this Divine Gift-love.

It was special I believe, because God gave me that love.

It was from Him to this girl, not from me.

Today family, brothers and sisters, moms and dads, we all have an opportunity to express this kind of love on this Compassion Sunday.

There are young kids all over the world, like the girl I was able to hold. There are kids all over the world, like those playing in the nude and living in the lean to’s, and having little if anything to eat.

These are real children who need help. Kids like Veronica, a 5 year old who lives in Kenya. She lives with her father and mother, who both try to work in the market to make some money.

Amado lives in Guatemala with his mom. He is 5 years old and helps the family by running errands.

These kids and so many more need help.

I am not telling you that God would have you sponsor one of these children, that is not my place, it is between you and God.

As I said when I was taking care of that little girl in the hospital. It was so special, because God had put the love in my heart, and it was his love for her more than it was my love.

All I am asking of you today is to pray.

Pray for Compassion International, pray for the kids, and for sponsors. Pray and ask for God to place it upon your heart if he would like you to sponsor a child.

There are indeed many ways for you to share God’s love with the world, Compassion International simply offers us one opportunity for you to be used by God to share His love.

Lets Pray!

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