DEVOTION FOR THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH, 2018
AN EVANGELIST’S HEART: COMPASSION
During a qualifying heat for the 5,000-meter race at the 2016 Olympic Games, New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin fell, accidentally tripping American runner Abbey D’Agostino. The two women took turns helping each other to stand and then finish the race. Though neither medalled, they were given the only Fair Play awards of the Games. Hamblin explained the women’s compassionate acts: “Once you are on the track, there is a mutual understanding of what it takes to get there.”
In today’s passage we see that an evangelist’s heart is filled with compassion for people who are in the same lost and fallen condition we once were. Elsewhere, we learn that the apostle Paul had lived an exemplary life as a religious Jew (see Phil. 3:4–6). He knew what it meant to live according to a strict interpretation of the Law. He had taken pride in his identity as a zealous Jewish religious leader.
After Paul met Christ, he longed for his fellow Jews to meet Him too. In Romans 9, he uses the strongest terms possible—“great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (v. 2)—to describe his concern for Jews living apart from Christ. He even says he would be willing to give up his own salvation if only they could be saved instead (v. 3). Paul’s words reflect the heart of Jesus Himself, who had compassion on the crowds because they didn’t have anyone to teach them the good news (see Mark 6:34).
As evangelists, we are compelled by the two great commandments to love God and to love our neighbors (Luke 10:27). Because we love God, we long for others to praise and worship Him. Because we love our neighbors, we desire for them to accept the privileged life of adoption to sonship.
APPLY THE WORD
We share the gospel out of love for others. Like Christ Himself, when we see others blinded by sin and in rebellion against God, we have compassion and proclaim the news of salvation to them. We want what is good for them and what accomplishes God’s merciful purposes. Who needs your spiritual compassion? Are you bringing them to meet Christ?
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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