There are many people who are considered to be on the “front lines” of ministry that work with people who are in desperate need: helping refugees, feeding and clothing the homeless, providing for immigrants, caring for orphans, freeing slaves. These are amazing people who are giving and sacrificing their lives to live in very hard and difficult situations. They work tirelessly, giving love and hope to those on the underside of life. You might think, “I can’t do what they do every day on the front lines.” Not everyone is called to step into these situations and help.
Guess what?…that is ok. But we are all called to do something.
But, if you are like me, and you see what these people are doing and ask, “What am I doing with my life?” Don’t be discouraged, there is plenty of work to be done in this world to advance the Kingdom of God and you don’t need a lot of skill to do it.
I believe we all want our lives to matter. We want to know that our lives are making a difference in this world. We want to live in a bigger story. The people who are on the “front lines” have a very similar God-given desire and drive to you and me have, they are driven by compassion and a love for their “neighbor.” Having compassion for others is what it means to be human and how we supposed to live. Let me tell you a little secret about showing compassion and love for others, it doesn’t take skill. It takes a desire to see and love our “neighbor” as Jesus sees them.
Jesus was a great model for compassion.
We read in scripture that Jesus was drawn into people’s lives by compassion.
“When Jesus landed and saw the large crowd, he had compassion.” – Matthew 14:14
“ I have compassion for these people for they have been with me for three days.” – Mathew 15:32
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.” Matthew 20:24
Jesus’ compassion wasn’t just empty words, it was tangible actions. He shared meals with sinners and outcasts. He spent time with people, listening to their hurts and needs. He healed people, fed people, and met their real-life needs. He loved the people who were in front as He went about His day.
– Can’t cook? Order out.
– Don’t have a counseling degree? Be present, listen, and refer to help when needed.
– Can’t heal people (neither can I)? Pray with them in there living room or pay for a doctor’s bill.
Honestly ask yourself, what is keeping you from loving your “neighbor” or the people God puts in front of you every day?
Then ask, ”What is the worst that can happen if I step out and show compassion for my neighbor?” Many times the only thing that holds us back is fear. Fear that we will be rejected. Fear what they might say. Fear that we aren’t good enough. Fear that our gift won’t be enough. All of these reasons are not from Jesus, they are from the evil one.
We all have a part in joining Jesus in redeeming the world. No matter if you are on the “front lines,” live in a different country, live in the city or live in the suburbs. How we join God in redeeming the world will look different based on where we live and what God has called us to do. Not everyone is called to be on the “front lines” but we are all called to love our neighbor as Jesus loved us. Our neighbor is not just “believers,” it is anyone and everyone God puts in front of us. Loving others does not require any skill, but it will require courage and risk.
Our lives, where we live, the love we show our neighbor is just as important as those on the “front lines.” Don’t underestimate the importance or meaning of your life. God has given you the capacity to have deep compassion for the people you interact with every day and to change the world in which you live. We all need each other to help advance the Kingdom of God.