Compassion and Generosity: Encouragement for Troubled Times

By Christopher Hunt

April 13, 2020

People around the world are hunkered down in their homes, weathering the unexpected storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. How do we respond to this crisis? During these unprecedented times, we might be tempted to fall into one of two traps: we could turn all our attention inward, caring only for ourselves; or we could turn all our attention outward, likely burning ourselves out in the process.

As Christians, we have good reason to care for others (rather than just ourselves) during this time. The ministry of Christ flowed from his compassion for the least, the sick, and sinners; people like us. Our compassion is fueled by the Holy Spirit and leads naturally to generosity, a desire to give hope to someone else in troubled times. Our compassion and generosity let others see Christ in us and experience his love.

We can show Christ to others in many ways. We could alleviate the anxiety of our neighbors by bringing groceries to their front porch. We can ask God to relieve the pressure from overburdened medical staff. We can express appreciation for the previously unsung heroes working in grocery stores, driving trucks, and all other essential workers.

But these acts of service can lead to the other trap: turning all our attention outward. We’re often tempted to do this during times of extreme stress; think of people who “keep busy” after a loved one’s death, short-circuiting the grieving process. Overextending ourselves by serving beyond our means is dangerous. When we keep giving and doing—to the exclusion of being spiritually nourished—we experience burnout.

We want to help you avoid both of these traps during this crisis. We pray that the following devotions from Today will both “spur [you] on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24) and lead you beside still waters, restoring your soul (Psalm 23). May your God-given reservoir of compassion be refilled to overflow in generosity during these difficult days.

Inspiration for Compassion

The Father’s Compassion. As we have compassion on our children, so our Creator, who knows all our limitations, has compassion on us.

Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness. As Christ’s followers, we adopt a lifestyle of imitating God, showing kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Extraordinary Compassion. A slave girl saw herself as a servant of the living God. When suffering entered into the household, she wanted to see that suffering relieved and her master healed.

Life in the Shadow of Conflict. In ancient Israel, there were very few exemptions from military service. For Christians there are no exemptions in the struggle against God's ancient enemy.

Encouragement for Generosity

Dorcas and the Poor: Generosity. Motivated by compassion, Dorcas imitated the generosity of God.

Full-Circle Generosity. Generosity brings with it a blessing that we can never receive by keeping everything for ourselves.

Generosity and Thanksgiving. The apostle Paul challenges the Corinthian church to view their generosity as a natural extension of their daily Christian witness.

Living Generous Lives. Living generously shows that we “get it” when it comes to the gospel. In response to God’s amazing grace, we give too!

We pray that God’s Word fills you with hope and resolve to persevere in acts of compassion and generosity in the midst of this pandemic. Especially during this crisis, may you be refreshed, refocused and renewed in God’s Word!

About the author — Christopher Hunt

Chris loves to see God transform lives through the gospel. Prior to joining ReFrame, he served with the global ministry of Awana. Chris also served for 16 years in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve. He studied history at Alma College and has earned a Master's degree at Northern Illinois University. He blogs frequently for Today and all of our ReFrame Ministries sister programs. He and his wife have five children and serve as leaders in their church.

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