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Moved With Compassion

You may have heard that at the Desert Vineyard we are about turning compassion into action.  I think it is easy to just "do the action"--serve at the soup kitchen or The Free Market, give out restaurant gift cards, give to the kitchen fund, sponsor a golfer for the Grace Resources fundraiser. Those who can "do the action" have the financial means to donate or the luxury of time to volunteer. For many, this is the most reasonable course of action--it fits our lifestyle, our budget, our "check list." But what about the "compassion" part? How do we keep a compassionate soft heart? It says Jesus was "moved with compassion" (Mark 6:34) by the crowds. Do we find ourselves "moved" with empathy?

Having young kids keeps you accountable--can anyone relate? Just today, we were driving around town, and my oldest (who is five), asked why someone threw their trash bags in a field which lead to seeing a man carrying a trash bag on his back which lead to why he might be doing such. I went through the common explanations--maybe he is carrying all his possessions in that trash bag; maybe people are sick and can't get to the doctor; maybe people lost their job and can't find another one; maybe because they don't have a home, it is hard to get fresh fruits and vegetables which help keep us healthy; maybe people don't have any family or friends who can give them a place to live.

Sometimes you don't really know if your kids are tracking with you, but then my three old says, "That is so sad." That struck me--that a three year old could not just follow this thread of conversation but that she felt for these people who are struggling, who don't have adequate food, who can't get to the doctor to get medicine.

This is a "both-and" statement: "Turning compassion into action." We want empathy AND we want action. Action without love is just works. Keeping soft hearts might mean we engage in conversation with folks receiving at The Free Market or at Monday Night Manna. It might mean we pray for that man we saw today with the trash bag on his back. It might mean we write the letters to our Compassion or World Vision sponsor child. And of course, it means we pray. Pray that the Lord keeps us humble, keeps us soft hearted, keeps us from judgement, keeps us generous.

If you ever need an extra dose of compassion, come hang out with my kids. They are pretty good teachers.

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