“When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, NIV).
Jesus saw and had compassion on them.
Jesus sees and has compassion on us.
Jesus, teach us to see so You can have compassion through us. Teach us to love and serve and give until our arms give out and our feet ache from walking our faith down streets, sidewalks, and hallways; teach us that love looks like carrying strangers’ grocery bags, knocking on doors of the displaced, and opening our eyes to others’ stories. If we don’t know where or how to start, show us how. Show us how to show love, give love, be love. Teach us that if we want to heal a broken world, we need to love our neighbor.
Imagine the early morning air thick with drizzle and you walk into wal*mart on your way to work. Cuddled in the cold, their blanket damp with rain, a family: a mother, father, two children wait with a sign– “No jobs. Please help.”
People pass by in their rushed routines. At first you are agitated because you have a million things to do and no time. You made a careful plan, a careful budget. And this? This is an interruption. But don’t you remember that God interrupts?
“What can I get for you?”
You’re late for work. You don’t have cash. You ask anyway. “Something to eat?”
“Yes, si. Si.”
“No– no peanuts,” glancing at the children.
You walk through the aisles; you fill a shopping cart. Bananas. Bread. Broccoli. Carrots. Crackers. Cookies. Chicken. Cheese. Juice. Jelly. You buy oranges for yourself, with some of the other things on your list. You scan the items with a lump in your throat because the number is higher than you planned for. By God’s grace you’ve never worried, but in the back of your mind lingers– the mortgage, the majority of bills due in the beginning of the month? Will there be enough? For them and for us?
You have a house that you sometimes think is too small. A job when sometimes you wish you could stay home. A car without fancy features. A full pantry of food that you sometimes disregard. Somehow still you have savings. You mutter to yourself, “How can I be ungrateful when God is enough? When he provides for the birds without worry? How can I sit comfortable in church on Sunday and walk past what makes me uncomfortable on Monday?”
You walk back outside into the frosty air. Hand them the groceries; give them your coat. “Your blanket looks wet,” You say. “Thank you,” she says. “Gracias.” The kids paw through the bags, rustle plastic, dig out the food. You see that your oranges accidentally ended up in one of the bags you hand them.
“Oranges!” The young one giggles. He repeats louder, “Oranges!” His eyes glow warm in the frosty winter morning; you see him laugh, joyful. How many oranges have you bought in your life without a twinge of joy? You might look at them differently now.