Pastor Matt’s message last week was a heavy one. To be honest, the series that we’re in, taking a deep dive into James, has been week after week of gut punches and strong convictions. Each message has left me overwhelmed with ways I can be wiser, more loving, more intentional with my relationships, and now how to better steward what God has given me. As a reminder, here is the passage of scripture we worked through as a church last weekend:
5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
As Pastor Matt broke down the scripture, he offered us several causes and effects of how we see this play out and struggle in our own lives and worlds. The ideas are this:
Greed Callouses our Hearts to People → The Solution is Compassion
Greed Insulates us Through Self-Indulgence → The Solution is Gospel-Centered Community
Greed Establishes a False Sense of Security → The Solution is JESUS
There is one point in here that hit me like a ton of bricks, that I have been praying on and processing this week, and one that I feel we can ALL relate to right now. “Greed callouses our hearts to people, and the solution is compassion.” If you’re anything like me, the last 24 months has almost given me “compassion fatigue.” Life has been unbelievably heavy for just about everyone I talk to. We’re all feeling burned out by the constant barrage of illness, death, war, financial struggles, family struggles, etc. It has been A LOT! There are times where I want to shut it all off and insulate myself from the news of the world because it’s so heavy it becomes numbing. But, God calls us to a deep sense of compassion for His people and His world. He calls us to hurt with those who hurt, celebrate with those who celebrate, and mourn with those who mourn.
Now, I know I’m getting off-topic here. The message, and specifically this point, centered around compassion with finances, but I think there is so much more to think about here than just how we spend our money, and how we use money to impact the Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong, this is HUGE, and Pastor Matt did an incredible job of walking us through this principle, but God has been convicting me in a different way through this point, and I think it’s important to acknowledge.
The scripture that The Lord is bringing me back to is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, which tells us “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” This right here is our road map to combat compassion fatigue and feeling like it’s too much to hurt with each other. The trick is, y’all, we’re not supposed to do it BY OURSELVES! I know! Mind-blowing to say the least. The verse says “who comforts us in all OUR troubles, so that we can comfort those with the comfort we receive from God.” Guys, if we take on every feeling, every emotion, consistently walking in genuine compassion without getting it from a source, we will run dry and compassion will quickly turn to cynicism and frustration.
God is our true source of compassion. He is the ultimate example of taking on the weight, the sin, the heaviness of the entire world, and continuing to love us in the deepest way. In order to walk with people, hurt with people, celebrate with people, truly love people, we have to learn to look at everyone the way Jesus does.
As the world continues to hurt, let us be a people that walks closely with the children of the Lord, celebrating and hurting with each other. Let’s be a people of deep, genuine compassion. But, let us tap into the source of true wisdom and compassion, loving each other because Christ first loved us.
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