May 27, 2005
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
After these last two weeks, we’ve come to last motivational gift in this passage of Scripture. God has gifted certain people with the gift of mercy. Let me distinguish the difference between the grace of mercy and the gift of mercy. Every Christian should express mercy. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
As Christians, we have received the grace of mercy, so we ought to always give mercy. However, there is a gift of mercy that transcends natural human concern. It is the Spirit-given ability to feel genuine concern for those who suffer, and to cheerfully translate that concern into deeds of kindness.
It is the gift of sympathetic service, or compassion. Not pity. People don’t need pity; they need compassion. Mercy isn’t just emotion or caring for the concerns of others; it is sharing and meeting those needs. “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16).
This gift is directed toward the weak—both those who are saved and unsaved. It is so important because it reveals the character of God, relieves the children of God, and reaches the called of God. Here are some characteristics of the person who is gifted with mercy:
- Sensitive toward those who are hurting
- Understands human needs
- Identifies and hurts deeply when others are distressed
- Responds toward those who have physical and emotional needs
- Sees the best in others
- Has the ability to discern the motives and needs of others
- Avoids harsh attitudes and those who express them
- Feels led to the ministry of prayer
Those with blessed with the gift of mercy will love those who are deprived, depressed, and discouraged, the needy, the outcasts, the poor, the sick, the retarded, the elderly, the hungry, the prisoners, and those who are broken. If you feel you have the gift of mercy, pray and ask God to meet the needs of others through you, as you put feet to your prayers.
PEOPLE DO NOT CARE HOW MUCH WE KNOW, UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH
WE CARE. IT IS WHEN MERCY IS EXERCISED THAT PEOPLE CAN BE SAVED.