Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The Other Side of Compassion
“But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” —John 6:27
The day after the miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, Jesus taught the crowd about the most important things of life. He said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). He also said, “Don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you” (verse 27). In other words, “Guys, I have filled your stomachs, but I am the Bread of Life. This is what you ought to be living for.”
But after He finished this sermon, most of the people walked away from Him. These fickle, fair-weather people turned away after they got their free meal because they didn’t like what Jesus said. So He turned to His own disciples and said, “Are you also going to leave?” (verse 67).
They said, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God” (verses 68–69).
We need to show compassion toward those who are in need. Jesus modeled this. But He also showed us that in addition to meeting people’s physical needs, we need to minister to their spiritual needs.
Let’s show compassion, but let’s also remember the most important thing we can do for people is to care for their souls. There is no question that Christians have compassion on people in pain, and so we should. But if in our attempts to reach out to people and meet their physical needs, we neglect to meet their spiritual needs, then we have failed in our primary purpose. Because the most important thing is where they will spend eternity.
Copyright © 2011 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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Theology without apology!
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