A couple years ago, my parents decided to take my whole family on a vacation together to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. While family dynamics always make for an interesting time for anyone, life became even more complicated when my father asked each of the kids to lead a morning devotional for the family. It shouldn’t be a big deal for someone who has been a missionary for a while, but it’s amazing how inadequate you can feel when your parents and siblings have more than 100+ years in ministry between them (being the youngest probably doesn’t help either). What do you say to people who have done more, spent more time with God, working for God, heard from God, and preached more times than you can imagine? Truth be told, it got to the point that I wondered, why even bother?
That’s when I felt the Lord ask me a question,
“Which is more important? ‘What‘ you do for Me or ‘Why‘ you do things for Me?”
Of course, I knew the right answer, but I also know myself. I tend to be a type A personality that likes to get stuff done. If we’re going to be honest, I’m a “Martha” more than a “Mary” a lot of times and this was the Lord’s way of pointing that out. It was from that point that God challenged my view of compassion. I had always thought of compassion as simply doing what is right. Jesus tells us we need to help those who are hurting, who can’t help themselves, the poor, the sick, the orphan and because He told us to, we should. But the Lord wanted me to know that there was more to His compassion.
I’m a big fan of knowledge and wisdom. I’ve used this little phrase with my students over the years,
“Knowledge is knowing what is right and Wisdom is doing what is right.”
Proverbs makes it clear that these are two great attributes that we should seek after. For a long time, that’s what I focused on, until one day the Lord told me that He wanted more. I was a bit confused to say the least, but as I continued to pray, God revealed to me what He was getting at. Many Christians know what is right, but it’s out of compulsion, even legalism. God wants more. He wants us to be Compassionate. Luke 6:36 says, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”
Compassion is doing what is right out of love! It’s a spontaneous response to someone’s suffering when God’s divine love is in our hearts. If we are to “do everything in love,” compassion is the “doing” part of divine love. To paraphrase a popular saying, “You can do what is right and not love, but you can’t have God’s love and not do what is right.” I believe God is challenging us to raise up a generation of Compassionate Christians who “do everything” with God’s love.
Unfortunately, there is a lot wrong in this world, and it’s easy for students to get discouraged and overwhelmed. As leaders, we can help our students overcome this seemingly “impossible” situation by reminding them of these things.
First, remind them they don’t have to do it all. There will always be problems until Jesus returns and we can’t solve them all. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “If you can’t feed a hundred, then just feed one.” Do what you can with what God puts in front of you. feedONE is Chi Alpha’s compassion arm and over 177,000 kids are fed daily through the program. While that’s awesome, there are at least that many waiting to be fed through feedONE. No one expects one person to individually feed that many kids, but what can you do with the resources you have? Just do your part.
Secondly, remind them they don’t have to do it all by themselves. As a ministry and as the Body of Christ, we will always be better together. This even applies to showing compassion. With feedONE, a child can be fed for a month for only $10. $120 feeds a child for a year. Together, as a ministry last year, Mizzou Chi Alpha gave over $42,000 to feedONE. That means 350 children were fed, educated, and taught about Jesus. No individual person could feed that many kids for a year, but together, they did. With the Lord’s help, they made the “impossible” possible.
Lastly, remind them of Jesus’ words, “Now go and do the same.” They don’t have to solve all the world’s problems, and they don’t have to do it all by themselves. But they do have a part in God’s plan.
feedONE gives our students a great opportunity to tangibly and practically be a part of God’s plan to change the world we live in. And as they become more compassionate and have more of God’s heart for the lost and hurting, it will in turn benefit every area of our local ministry on campus. The “why” will always determine how well the “what” is done.
Until “Every Student Feeds One.”
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.