October 04, 2010

Clothe Yourselves With Compassion

Exodus 34:4-7; Matthew 9:35-38

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion …
Colossians 3:12


In Colossians 3 the apostle Paul gives us a list of sweet and nutritious fruit that Christians will produce in their lives—because the Spirit of God is working in them. The first item listed there is compassion. (Another well-known passage about spiritual fruit is Galatians 5:22-23.)

When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, God described himself as “the compassionate and gracious God.” For us, to know that God is powerful is good; to know that God is compassionate is a great relief.

When Jesus saw crowds of people around him, he also “had compassion on them.” For us, to know that Jesus is God’s eternal Son is good; to know that Jesus is compassionate is liberating.

To “live a life worthy of the Lord” is to be compassionate. Would people who live and work and play with me use that word to describe me? Would my neighbors use that word to describe the church I attend?

A compassionate person sees others not as competitors or as someone to defeat, not as consumers to sell something to, not as someone belonging to this or that ethnic group or social class. A compassionate person first of all sees others as persons who are loved by God and for whom Jesus has compassion.

What might the Holy Spirit need to do to make me more compassionate today?

Lord Jesus, as you have looked at me with compassion, grace, and love, help me to see my loved ones—and even my enemies—with those same eyes. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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