Tuesday, 21 July 2009


I was forcibly struck by Mark 6:30-34 the other day. Jesus planned a break with the disciples but the break never happens because of the needs of the crowd. Mark says that Jesus had compassion on them (the crowd) 'because they were like sheep without a shepherd'.
I found myself asking a number of questions...
1) What is it that must drive us? Compassion. "many are the plans in a human heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails" (Proverbs 19:21) Compassion should take precedence even over plans we have, with all integrity, put into place. Preference (what I want) should give way to purpose (what the Lord wants)
2) What is it that will enable us to work out what the Lord wants us to do? What his purpose is? When we see sheep without a shepherd, when our hearts fill with compassion for a person or people who are lost.... that is what should signal our purpose and calling.
3) But surely there are two many areas of compassion to respond to? The compassion that fills the heart of one person may not be that which fills my heart. I will find myself at times following the compassion of another and catching their vision for shepherding in a particular area. At other times I will need to lead others in my area of compassion. My relationship with the Lord, with my companions on the way will help me discern what my response should be.
4) Surely this means that there is a cost to compassion? If compassion costs - are we willing to pay the price?Hanging around theme park rides with young people the other day reminded me again that there is a particular need to have compassion for young people who are so often sheep without a shepherd. My story is very much of people getting alongside me as a teenager, shepherding me, having compassion for me. Children need the same... as the song goes "everyone needs compassion" - are we compassion givers?
I believe that over the Summer the Lord will be sharpening up his calling in us through compassion. Let's pray that the Lord will reveal to us those areas where we see sheep without a shepherd and sense a calling to respond.

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