Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.' For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.
Compassion is unreasonable. It defies our logical minds. Compassion is inconvenient. It ignores our personal plans. Compassion is uncomfortable. It takes us beyond our limits. Compassion is expensive. It costs what we needed to lose. Compassion is demanding. It accepts no less than our best.
Compassion is discreet. It covers the sins of others. Compassion is hopeful. It looks for the best in others. Compassion is modest. It doesn't like to be noticed. Compassion is transforming. It changes the lives it touches. Compassion is victorious. It overwhelms all opponents. Compassion is moving. It calls out directly to God.
Compassion is enduring. It will never be forgotten.
When John the Baptist was beheaded and Jesus sought solitude, when His disciples returned from their first missionary trips tired and hungry, when hordes of people intruded on their rest and recovery, when Jesus chose to love on them anyway, and when the long day had finally ended...
When it was unreasonable, inconvenient, uncomfortable, expensive and demanding, Jesus showed even more... compassion. It led to the only miracle described in all four Gospels: the feeding of 5000 men.*
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Compassion is your most effective calling card for Jesus, because 'Love never fails' (1 Corinthians 13:8).**
Toward insiders, remember: 'To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend' (Job 6:14). 'And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?' (Matthew 7:3). 'If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar' (1 John 4:20). So 'Love the brotherhood' (1 Peter 2:17).
Toward outsiders, remember: 'Honor all people' (1 Peter 2:17). 'The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others' (Albert Schweitzer).
Whatever compassion you give, God will give you back even more. He already did.
To Be Continued...
* Feeding 5000 in Matthew: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14%3A13-21&version=NKJV
* Feeding 5000 in Mark: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6%3A30-44&version=NKJV
* Feeding 5000 in Luke: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A10-17&version=NKJV
* Feeding 5000 in John: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A1-14&version=NKJV
** The Greatest Gift (1 Corinthians 13): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%2013&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.