< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Making Great Sacrifices Conclusion

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Making Great Sacrifices Conclusion

Later, God sent Jesus to show us His compassion. Jesus reached out to the people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and brought back the lost. Spoke to their broken society. He gave Himself to them. He was compassion in action. Then He taught the disciples how to be that way.

One of his lessons was the parable of the servant who owed his superior a great deal of money, which he didn’t have to repay. And the superior wiped the ledger clean. But, then the forgiven man went to his friend who owed him a much smaller amount of money and demanded it. Jesus basically taught that this was unacceptable behavior. That those who benefited from the compassion of God ought to begin to discover a compassionate spirit within themselves.

The compassion of God is the very basis of our existence, our redemption and our survival.

So what’s stopping us? Well, some people don’t want to be taken advantage of and they worry about the con artists out there. Others worry about becoming a doormat. Still others feel like people in need are just lazy and to give them a hand out is the worst thing you can do.

But, Jesus simple said, “If you have been shown compassion (and we have) then you need to show it too.”

One of the things that most moved Jesus to tears was when He looked at people and saw how lost they were in spite of their potential. People are created in the image of God and still just don’t get it. If they would ask, God would come and live inside of them and be a refuge and a help. But, they don’t ask.

Compassion starts with an emotional response, then by a commitment to activity. Some of our time, energy and resources will need to be consumed. We can’t just say, “Oh that’s too bad.”

The story of the Good Samaritan was Jesus’ example of how it should be. The Good Samaritan went out of his way for the other man. It’s a longing to meet other people at their point of need in Jesus’ name. It’s wanting to be the means by which God answers their prayers and longing.

Jesus told us the story of the Good Samaritan to remind us of all the people around us who are hurting. The number 1 enemy of kindness is busyness. The Samaritan wasn’t too busy. He didn’t stop and consider if he had time to help or what he would get out of it. He just did it. It’s a fact of history that the Romans confused the Greek word Christos (Christ) with the word chrestos, which means kind.

When Abraham left his home to obey God he didn’t know all the joy and riches God would increasingly give him. He didn’t know where he would end up. He just knew the direction of his next step. And that there was no going back.

God has blessings, joy, love and fulfillment in store for those who fully respond to Him, which far exceed our expectation when we first set forth deliberately to commit ourselves to receive His promise by faith and to follow where He leads in complete obedience at any cost. But, we can’t experience it until we take the first step in faith.

Abraham was promised a blessing, but was also called to be a blessing to others. We are called to be a blessing to our family, our church, our workplace and our neighborhood too. Abraham’s blessings were not only to himself and his ever-increasing family, but also to generations. Our lives can be a blessing to future generations also.

When we start to live life on purpose. When we stay focused on God. We too can live lives that reach into eternity.

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