Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Source of our Compassion...

When you first glance at the title of this blog, you might think it rather obvious. As followers of Christ, the source of compassion for those in need is based in Jesus, who He is and what He did. Obvious. However, I ran across another source of our compassion while reading through the book of Deuteronomy.

In Deuteronomy, chapter 24, God is giving through Moses the laws of taking into consideration people in need. He is giving the rules for right living to the Israelites when they encounter a brother of fellow person who is needy. He talks about loans. He talks about (and condemns) oppressing the daily laborers and poor. He then gives practical instructions as to how Israel is to provide for the disadvantaged living among them.

"When you reap the harvest in your field, and you forget a sheaf in the field, do not go back to get it. It is to be left for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you knock down the fruit from your olive tree, you must not go over the branches again. What remains will be for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you must not glean what is left. What remains will be for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow..." (Deuteronomy 24:19-21).

This is what we call the law of the gleanings or "leaving" the gleanings. These were the areas of unharvested or second-harvest crops that were to be left for those who had no fields or resources of their own. These were the offering to God that were to go as care for the, "foreigner, fatherless and the widow."

What jumped out at me was the next verse, Deuteronomy 24:22, which says...

"Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I am commanding you to do this."

Israel's status as slaves should remind them to care for the helpless. When they looked at the hopeless and the hurting in their land, they were to remember that those people were them, but for the grace of God. When they were tempted to become self-sufficient and self-dependant, they were to remember that only a few generations ago, they were slaves and impoverished, living in a distant land.

Why do we care for the poor and needy? Why do we strive to make Christ known to the perishing? For sure, it is because of the compassion of Christ in us. But it is also the simple fact that there, but for the grace of God, go you and I.

Remember...that God has done a mighty act of grace and compassion in our lives. It helps us look at others in a whole new light.


1 comment:

  1. This made me teary-eyed Manong Jeff. I felt a lot of compassion from God in my life. When I went back to Agusan in January (because of my father's stroke), I asked the "why me?" question to God: why did he move me from there to here of all people. Ang akong plano kaniadto simple lang, mao ang pagserbisyo didto pinaagi sa mission. Daghan akong hilak tungod kay nakita nako ang ka-pobre didto. Ang akong hilak turned to praise kay bisan dili nako nasabtan, nakahibalo ako nga adunay plano ang Ginoo. Ang akong panghinaot nga pahinumduman ko niya kanunay where I have been, para walay masagol nga garbo where I am and where I will be going, nga hatagan ko niya ug discernment kung unsa usab ang akong himoon sumala sa akong compassion nga nabatunan gikan Kaniya.