Jesus was one of the most ambitious and motivated people to ever set foot on earth. But the fuel behind his drive was not the earthly motives of power, prestige or position. Jesus was driven by compassion. Jesus chose to give others ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10), because he connected with their emptiness. If we are to develop the kind of spiritual ambition to change our world (as Jesus did), we must develop the conviction of compassion.
Where do you devote your most creative imagination? Your unique talents? Your most determined energy? This study is about how to develop compassion and devote your resources to influencing other people.
The Courage to ‘See’
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. –Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus’ mission was transform people’s spiritual condition through his teaching, and transform people’s emotional & physical condition through healing.
This mission was motivated by compassion and left a life pattern that could change the world.
This passage shows the key to developing a heart of compassion is ‘seeing’.
It is not possible to develop a heart of compassion if you are consumed with your own needs. You must have the courage to ‘see’ others.
Are you willing to see the physical and emotional needs of those in your family, neighborhood, work or school?
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled
Jesus sustained his efforts to do good because he was deeply moved by the needs of other people.
It is not possible to sustain a lifestyle of doing good unless you are moved by the needs of another person.
Jesus didn’t want us to host events or run programs that met needs. His desire was for us to be deeply moved by the needs of other people.
But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? 18 Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).
1 John 3:16-17 (AMP)
Whether we are aware of it or not, we all make a choice to open or close our heart towards specific people.
We might say things like, ‘Oh I forgot’, ‘I didn’t have time’ or ‘didn’t know what to do’, when in reality we have closed the door on someone in need.
Two enemies of compassion that religious people use:
- Theory – Fine-sounding talk about the need to do things, while never actually doing anything
- Speech – Giving input and direction, but not having the love to walk with someone
Deeds and Truth are God’s definition of real love.
- What loving deeds is God calling you to do?
- What loving truths is God pushing you to say?
Doing Good Pleases God
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God wired every person to do good. A life without ‘doing good’ leaves a part of us empty and unfulfilled.
God has specific works for us to do.
He allows personal weakness, difficulty, experiences and opportunities to lead us to that specific work.
What specific good work are you uniquely designed to do?
Pleasing to God
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Even if no one acknowledges or thanks us for what we do, God is pleased when we have heart to do good.
Doing Good is Good for Us
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
God takes note of the measure of good that we do, and makes sure that in our lives we are given to in the same measure.
What we learn is that in the process of helping others, we have parts of our heart, mind and character that get developed.
What spiritual qualities do you seek and how can doing good be the answer?
Key to Overcoming
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Overcome – To conquer, defeat, prevail over, surmount, overwhelm or overpower, to get the better of in a struggle or conflict
Doing good is one of the primary weapons God gives us to overcome areas of evil in our lives.
Simply saying ‘no’, is not sustainable. We have to take the energy we put into evil and devote ourselves to doing good.
How can doing good enable you to overcome sins that have been defeating you?
The Answer to Greed
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIV
Doing good is one of the ways that we avoid the deceitfulness of wealth. Someone who has wealth but isn’t devoted to doing good will lose their faith to the love of money.
The 3 practicals:
- Rich in Good Deeds… Build relationships with people who you can help, not just those you are getting something from.
- Generous… Meet the needs of other people with the resources God has given you. Generous implies that you initiate using your resources to do good.
- Willing to Share… Sharing is about not claiming any of your possessions as your own. How can you take what you own and do good by sharing it with others?
The Pollution of Self
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27 NIV
When we take action on needs that we see, it helps our hearts not be captivated by the world.
The pollution of the world isn’t some sinister evil, the world pollutes us by pushing us to be self-centered, self-absorbed and selfishly ambitious.
We resist the pollutant of selfishness, by centering our lives on giving to others.
Doing Good Influences the World
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.  He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Acts 10:1-2 NIV
God finds ways to have those who do good meet disciples.
Cornelius had a heart that was open to love God, and God used his desire to do good to reach out to him.
Who are people who you have done good with, who could be open to a relationship with God?
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us….  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
1 Peter 2:12, 15 NIV
Doing good is a way to shine among those who do not believe.
In school or the workplace, you can easily turn awkward situations into opportunities to inspire.
How can you describe the good you do to coworkers, classmates or family members?
It’s Not that Hard – Just Be You
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)
Doing good doesn’t require you to be a superstar, just take the gifts God has given you and use them to inspire others.
Make a list of 5 things you’re good at. Next to each of one of them write down the name of someone or a group of people who could benefit from you using your talent.