Exhausted healthcare workers. Distraught farmers. Desperate business owners. Devastated families. There are countless reasons to feel compassion for others during the COVID-19 pandemic. But I encourage us to do more than FEEL compassion ... like our Lord and Savior Jesus, let us be MOVED with compassion.
Consider the words from Mark 1:40-41 –
“A leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’” (Mark 1:40-41)
Jesus didn’t just FEEL compassion – he was MOVED by compassion. His feeling drove him to action. He reached out his hand, touched the man, and healed him.
There are so many ways we can reach out, touch others, and bring God’s healing grace into their lives:
-- Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray, and then pray some more! Pray in solitude, pray on the phone with a friend, pray over Zoom with a group of people, pray as a family ... PRAY! And, if you’re praying for particular people, let them know that you are praying for them – it will be such an encouragement to them!
-- Call, text, email, send a card (remember snail mail??), FaceTime, and chat online. If you can see each other in person safely, do so. It is so easy for people to feel forgotten in the current isolation. Loneliness is the breeding ground for despair. When you reach out, you are providing a life-giving connection.
-- Figure out what people need done and do it! Getting groceries for others is a big one today, but there are many other services people need, too. For instance, an elderly friend might want to get plants at the local nursery but be unable to do so. Or, you might be able to volunteer your services at a local organization, such as a food bank or hospital.
-- If you are not in financial hardship yourself, consider where God may be asking you to give monetarily. Don’t be distressed that you can’t meet every need – that is God’s job, not yours. Just decide which need you can meet. That might be giving money (or things, such as food) to a neighbor or a local food bank. It might mean sending a special gift to missionaries. It could be supporting a national or global relief organization. The gift may be $10 or $10M – it doesn’t matter. Remember the widow’s two mites? (Mark 12:41-44)
Today (and tomorrow and the next day), when you FEEL compassion, ask God, “What can I do to help?” Then, MOVE with compassion!