Be Compassionate

The story is told of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, who one day met with Queen Victoria. As she had heard so many good things about his work in the slums, she asked him for the secret of his success. ‘Your Majesty,’ he replied, ‘Some men have a passion for money. Some people have a passion for things. I have a passion for people.’

Beyond many of Nehemiah’s noble leadership qualities, his compassion for people was palpable. In my previous editorial, we noted that Nehemiah received information about a people in devastation and a place in desolation.

Now we see that the information in his head becomes an experience of the heart. Nehemiah was so moved with passion for God and compassion for people that he sat down and wept for several days. Not only did he weep – he mourned, fasted, and prayed.

Four-hundred and seventy-six years later, our Lord Jesus wept over the same city. During His earthly ministry He had compassion on the hungry and He fed them. He had compassion on the sick and He healed them. He had compassion on the spiritually confused Jews as they sought to find direction in life.

In addition to His personal example, Christ also incorporated the concept of compassion into His teaching, thereby conveying some powerful truths. We note that when the Samaritan was moved with compassion, that led to action to help his ‘enemy’ (Luke 10:33). The compassion of Jesus is evident from the beginning to the end of the Gospels. The Church is called to demonstrate this same compassion.

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

‘Moved with Compassion’ literally means having one’s inner being stirred. This is what Nehemiah experienced. He wept; he was concerned; he had an experience that moved him into action.

While spending time with Pastor Benjamin Levtseniuk, regional pastor of Khabarovsk Region, Russia, I sensed something of his compassion and commitment to share the Gospel with unreached people groups – ‘We must reach the unconverted with the Gospel.…’

The demise of Communism thirty years ago revolutionized missionary endeavours in the former USSR. Following its collapse, the ministry of SGA expanded dramatically. Many churches were planted, and communities changed through the power of the Gospel. Yet today we are confronted with the same challenge that Jesus presented to His disciples, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest’.

As we embark on SGA [UK’s] 70th anniversary, we too lift our eyes to the harvest fields, and we are launching an exciting and vital project for the advancement of the Gospel, ‘70 More Workers.’

Much of the news that we hear today is heart breaking. The spiritual climate is dark as we mix with people who are living aimlessly. May we be passionate about the two most important things in the world: ‘knowing Jesus Christ and making Him known’!
Derek Profile

By Derek Maxwell

General Director