"We exist to be a witness of God's love, to encourage others, to know Christ and make Him known."
A Note from Pastor Don
Prayers and Compassion
We are exhorted to pray without ceasing and we have received the command to love others as Jesus has loved us. In our experience we often find that as we pray for others, we are then moved with the heart of God to express compassion. In Matthew’s Gospel the heart of Jesus is expressed, 36 “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38
Here we read that Jesus was moved with compassion for those in need and then He told His disciples to pray to the Lord to send out workers into the spiritual harvest. The word for compassion is a word that means that a person experiences emotion in their intestines. Sometimes a person might say “I have butterflies in my stomach”, an older expression as a person received bad news was “that hit me in the gut” or “it really gutted me”. Some people still say, “I have a gut feeling about this”. Modern scientist have confirmed that your gut/ intestinal system is directly connected to your brain. The digestive system is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells “that are used to talk to the brain” (see below). This is why the Greek word indicates that Jesus was stirred in His bowels/ intestines. Most translations state “He was moved with compassion” if you have experienced any sort of sorrow or grief you can remember being “moved” being “struck”, feeling so strongly not just in your mind but in the center of your being. Often in grief a person loses their appetite. Some people after they receive horrific news vomit or pass out. God has created us as emotional beings, and the emotion is to cause us to pray and turn to the Lord, and then trust Him to work in and through us to overcome difficult circumstances. In the original manuscripts there were no divisions of chapters and it is interesting to note that immediately after Jesus was moved with compassion and after He told His disciples to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest, it says that He sent them out and gave them power to overcome spiritual forces of darkness and to heal all kinds of diseases (Matthew 10:1).
The application for us is that as we see suffering around us, and learn of trials and disasters in the world, we are to pray, and we are to share the compassion of the Lord.
I would encourage you to meditate on the words of Jesus, and also consider the truth that John wrote in 1st John 3:16-17
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
In verse 17 the word for “shuts up his heart” is the same word in Greek that was used in Mt. 9:36. In 1st John 3:17 it is literally closing the bowels of compassion. Don’t become “hard hearted” don’t turn from the emotion that God created in you, it is there to motivate you to pray, and to show others the love of God in action!
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