"Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother. Do not oppress the widow, orphan, sojourner, or poor. And let none of you contemplate evil deeds in your hearts against his brother" (Zech. 7:9-10).
Compassion ministry, or whatever you want to call it, can be very draining, and exhausting. But it doesn't have to be.
It depends on your motivation and your approach. It should not drive you, but rather, God's heart should lead you. Do you see the difference?
Mary and Martha
Do you remember the story about Mary and Martha? In the past, I heard that "Mary chose the better part," and that Martha was reprimanded.
We need to look at the Scripture again. Part of the story takes place in John 11, and it revolves around Lazarus, who was Mary and Martha's brother. Mary was the one who had anointed Jesus' feet with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair. She was also the one who just wanted to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak, while Martha was in the kitchen, preparing food (see Luke 10:38-39). There has been a lot of emphasis on Mary in recent years, and the place in God she typifies. We all need to have the heart of Mary, loving to sit at His feet, period.
Martha, dear Martha! She was the one who received Jesus and welcomed Him into her house. Now, she did become distracted with much serving, and that was the point that Jesus spoke tenderly to her, redirecting her heart to "the better part," to worship Him. (See Luke 10:40.) But I believe He was wooing her, drawing her to Himself, not correcting or belittling her. She had messed up, had an attitude problem, and had compared her serving and cooking to Mary's "sitting." What a common error that is—a lesson we are still trying to learn.
When Lazarus was sick (see John 11), the sisters sent word to Jesus. Jesus loved Lazarus, but He did not come right away, but rather waited until Lazarus died. By the time He came, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Look at John 11:20-22, "When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, but Mary remained in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You may ask of God, God will give You."
Do you see a pattern here? Not only was it Martha who welcomed Jesus into her house, and in that, to her city, but when her brother died, she was the one who met Him, and asked for her brother's life to be restored. We need Martha! It doesn't have to be, "Are you a Mary or a Martha?" The point is, God wants us to be both. There is no place for comparison in the kingdom of God, and we don't have to choose between either living a life of prayer and devotion, or serving—we are to choose both! So, whether in the past you've considered yourself a Mary, or a Martha, and making that determination has disqualified you from being in the other camp, the wall is now torn down, and the camp enlarged.
It's time for Mary and Martha to come together. After all, they were sisters, and they did live in the same house. So should we!
Bursting from the Inside Out!
Once, when I was in a deep place in prayer, on the hard stone floor of the Elijah Inn in Pemba, Mozambique, I believe the Lord showed me something. As I lay there, while deep in a place of travail, intense heat, and all of our team groaning and laboring for God's justice to be established in the land, I saw the body of Christ. I saw the call to have compassion and to act. But then I saw something else. The body thought it was functioning well, and performing the will of God, but in actuality, it had no bowel!
It did not even realize that it was missing a major body part—one of the most important organs where most of the nutrition comes from, that feeds and brings nourishment to all the other body parts. Of course, we need to pray—really pray that we get this, both individually and corporately. We need to pray for a miraculous release! The Lord has been showing different ones that there are rooms in heaven that are full of body parts—waiting for a wave of unprecedented healing anointing to be released. Why not pray for supernatural release for the body—a wave of unprecedented compassion across all lands, to all people groups, tribes, tongues and nations!
Charles Spurgeon wrote this about compassion: "It is expressive of the deepest emotion; a striving of the bowels—a yearning of the innermost nature with pity. ... When our Savior looked upon certain sights, those who watched Him closely perceived that His internal agitation was very great, His emotions were very deep, and then His face betrayed it, His eyes gushed like founts with tears, and you saw that His big heart was ready to burst with pity for the sorrow upon which His eyes were gazing. His whole nature was agitated with commiseration for the sufferers before Him."
Jesus Christ is a compassionate friend to precious souls; His bowels yearn in mercy and pity for those in need. It was this mercy that brought Him from heaven to earth, and it was this mercy that took Him to the cross. His compassion brought Him to action—even dying on the cross for our sins, that we would be forgiven, and have fellowship with the Father. His compassion brought action!
Jesus loves you. God the Father loves you. To use a phrase, "You can't make Him love you any more, and you can't make Him love you any less." He loves you without reservation, just as you are, right now! That's who He is, and what He does. That is the focus of His compassion. He longs and groans for His house to be full, for His table to be full, and it won't be full unless you are there. He desires to draw you to Himself today, and to never be separated from you ever again. He has done it all for you and me.
All you have to do is say yes to Jesus! If you've never said yes to Him before, or maybe He's tugging on your heart in a fresh way, just talk with Him now. Tell him you love Him, you believe in Him, and you want to walk with Him. He will hear you and will answer your prayers.
Paul writes, "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship" (Rom. 12:1, AMP).
This is what is needed today: a decisive dedication of our lives as living sacrifices to God, and truly this is a reasonable service for us to offer in light of all His mercies to us.
Called to Impact Nations
We need to ask for answers to questions the world has yet to ask. We need to look into the future, and ask the Lord for creative solutions and inventions. We need to look at ways to create entrepreneurial businesses to create jobs for those in low-income areas, and help boost economies. We need to ask for houses, and look for ones that can be salvaged, repaired, and used for places of recovery or rescue.
How about a marriage of compassion with the prophetic? How about building relationships with our police, finding out the needs of our cities, and developing prophetic intercessory teams who will pray and ask for specific answers? We need to see what we can do to rescue and create a net to catch the women and children who have been trapped in sex trade businesses and prostitution, and are looking for a way out.
We need to develop water filtration systems that are inexpensive, easy to set up and establish in third world countries; and develop supply lines so ministries learn to work together and serve each other. We need to bring help in such a way that it releases blessing to whole areas. We need to cross over boundary lines of denominations and affiliations, reaching into areas that just plain need help. We need to move forward in kingdom understandings and applications and build relationally and most importantly, in love.
We need to care for the poor and needy, the widow and orphan, not only within our own regions, but we need to have an international expression as well. Our help is needed right now. Jesus, open our eyes and hearts!
We must live in the now. If we try to live in the future, we're always dreaming, and never realizing. We need to take our dreams, and make practical steps today to see them come to pass. We need to move out of any remorse over past mistakes or missed opportunities, and make a decision to get up and act now!
Next Time Jesus Will Come
I have a promise from Jesus. A number of years ago, I had an angelic visitation that lasted several weeks. It was awesome, wonderful, fearful, unsettling, challenging, and life altering. Toward the end of this visitation, I was talking with God, telling Him I didn't want this to end. I was lovesick, and I didn't want to go back to life as I knew it before. My heart had been touched and transformed by being in His presence. In the quiet early morning hours, before the sun had even thought of rising, Holy Spirit spoke to me. He said, "Next time, not only will the angels come, but Jesus Himself will come."
I'm looking for Jesus; I'm waiting for Jesus. But could it be that Jesus is waiting for me? Could it be that as I engage my heart to not only hear the Word of God, but to live the Word to those who do not know Him, Jesus just might come to me? That sounds like the kingdom of God coming on the earth! I want to be a part of establishing God's kingdom, and raising up a whole army of like-heart.
Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you this day, volunteering myself to be your arms, your feet, your hands to hurting and needy people. I want to embrace your heart for the poor, the orphan and the widow. I want to offer to you the field you have given me, that you would show me how to help provide for those who are less fortunate. Lord, I ask you to speak to me, lead me into the avenues of service that I am to engage in. Lord, according to James 1:5, give me the wisdom I need to move forward, connect with the people I need to network with. Today I make a commitment in my heart, with my mouth, to show You and the world my faith, by my works—because I love you, and I know that You so love me! In Jesus Name, Amen!
This article was composed by Michal Ann Goll and taken from a partial chapter contained in her last book Compassion: A Call to Take Action.
For the original article, visit prayerstorm.com.
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