I received an interesting email the other day from Linda that made me think:
I am moved so much by your compassion for people. I remember the few times I was able to see you witnessing to people. If I were to break it down in steps, it would look a lot like your teachings.
- Start. Say something. I would notice you start the conversation with someone, whether you felt comfortable or not.
- Obey. You would start sharing with them out of obedience, whether you felt comfortable or not.
- Bless. You would bless them financially or with a book. You usually do both. My guess is that you did it, whether you felt comfortable or not.
- Pray. Now, I know you usually do this before you leave your house. I also know you ask people to pray for the people you witness to. Now, don’t call me a prophet, but I can predict that you usually do that, whether you feel comfortable or not.
Hmm. Now, I’m by no means a mathematician or an English scholar, but I do recognize patterns. It appears to me that you do it not based on your feelings, although I’m sure you do “feel” things for the people you witness to at times. You pray for B.O.B., so when the Lord gives you a burden for the lost, it moves you to action.
Linda has seen me share my faith on more than one occasion. Sometimes, you just don’t realize that people are watching you! But, of course, people are always paying attention to others around them.
Out of Our Comfort Zone
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves looking for comfort. We really do want peace on all sides. The really, really smooth times in life can be beautiful! And you do know Heaven will be like that, correct? But it is not always the way life will be down here. Comfort zones are great, but do we really grow while we are in our comfort zone?
I was chatting with a high school friend last week. His wife is going through a lot of physical problems. He said that he is not the most compassionate of men. I encouraged him to allow God to mold and shape him into a more compassionate person and that he will like the final result.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
I have become much more compassionate over, let’s say, the last ten years of my life. It has definitely been a process. But I like the results that God has produced as He has molded more of it into my life.
1 John 3:17
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Compassion for the Unlovely
We hit a couple of concerts in the last week or so to do some witnessing. You have to go where the multitudes are gathering. It might not be in your comfort zone, but remember, every time you obey God, you are right in the middle of His comfort zone! And that is the only place you want to be.
One teenage girl gave me the “double bird” as I handed her a tract! Do you know what that is? We used to call it “giving someone the bird” when they gave you the finger. It was amazing. I had no clue who she was, and I don’t even remember if I had handed her a tract or not. My parents would have killed me for behaving like that toward another adult. Do you have compassion for young ladies like her who have been led so far astray?
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
My friend and I received some great encouragement from folks who saw us handing out tracts. They said to keep doing what we were doing, but they didn’t stop to help. Did they show compassion to all of the lost souls around us?
One lady came up to me and said she had read One Heartbeat Away and that it had impacted her life. I checked my files and realized she got the book when I spoke at her church 16 years ago! God is good. Keep serving Him.
One of the concerts we hit had a wealthier and whiter crowd. Those kinds of events can be places where you get a lot of rejection. I find with those crowds, they will stop taking tracts at certain points. So, what do you do when that happens? You just change your strategy.
I will look a man or woman in the eyes as they are walking by me. When they glance back at my eyes, I say, “Sir, are you born again? Are you saved?” I get some interesting responses. I’ve had more than a few people say, “Both,” as they continue trekking into the pagan temple of worship for the evening.
With others, I say, “Ma’am, Judgment Day is coming. Make sure you are ready for it.” Some laugh off the warning, but others nod their head and just keep walking on their way. Others have told me they knew they were going to Hell. Some said it in a joking way, as if they were dismissing the seriousness of it all. Do you have compassion for folks like that?
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Showing True Compassion
You really can’t live your life worrying about whether or not men hate you. I know for a fact that when they die, they will be thankful you witnessed to them. Either they got saved and you will see them in Heaven, or they will be in Hell. But if they end up in Hell, they will know that you, of all people, didn’t want them to be there for even a moment, let alone for all of eternity.
For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The more compassion we have for others in these final days, the better. Compassion moves us to reach them with the gospel. Whether you’re comfortable or not, stand very, very strong for Jesus in the coming days. You will not regret it when your dream comes true, and you finally get to see Him face to face.
Until the Nets are Full,
P.S. If you haven’t seen the Pray for B.O.B. video, you might want to check it out. We get a lot of feedback about this talk, and many have said it really encourages them to pick up their witnessing pace as they walk out their door.