Posts Tagged compassion

We Are Called to Shepherd

By Paul Wilkinson

A subset of last week’s post about modeling Christlikeness has been convicting me this week. My Pastoral Ministry professor from seminary made the statement in class that he feared that we would love books more than people. At the time, I couldn’t imagine such a reality. How could I ever come to love a book or philosophy more than the people I engaged with the truths derived therefrom? Yet, it happened. I was able to rationalize that by loving the books and philosophy, I was loving people. By preparing myself to the maximum level, I could love them best. While some of that thinking is surely noble, I repeatedly neglected being a shepherd to those I was teaching.
The New Testament calls us to a different reality. Consider these verses about Jesus:
So as He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things (Mark 6.34) and Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” (John 11.35-6).
Paul echoed Jesus’ sentiment saying My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4.19) and For you can have 10,000 instructors in Christ, but you can’t have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel (1 Corinthians 4.15). And John echoed them both, calling his people My little children (1 John 2.1) and Dear friends (1 John 4.7).
The New Testament promoted the idea that those called to shepherd others are spiritual fathers (and mothers). And the love we have for our biological children (2 dogs in my case) is the same love that we ought to have for those whom God called us to shepherd. In my zeal for knowledge, I forgot that I was appointed to be spiritual father over many. On numerous days, I was perhaps the only Jesus they saw and I was not a very good one. And if I was their model for Christlikeness, then were they capable of being Jesus to those they met who were in need?
I did not long with birth pains for my people and I did not have compassion for my people. I pray that we remain sensitive to our role as shepherd. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them (Jeremiah 23.4). Remember in the midst of your study and preparation, that you are the spiritual father or spiritual mother to those given to you. Such a role is of exceeding importance and I thank God that you have been called to it because God has given you the heart for it.
We may not greet each other with a holy kiss any more (Romans 16.16; 2 Corinthians 13.12), but be sure to express to your people how much you love them and how much you long to see Jesus Christ formed in them. And never forget that we love you and long to see Jesus Christ fully formed in you.

Engaging Your LIFE Group to Serve the Community

By Jay Fennell

What Kingdom difference is your LIFE group making in the world? In what measurable way is your LIFE group contributing to the advancement of the gospel in this community? These are important questions for LIFE group leaders to consider.
If you watch sitcom TV long enough, or listen to top 40 radio hits in your car, or simply open your eyes to the people you come in contact with daily, you’ll quickly discover that our world, our culture, our community is desperately lost and in need of a Savior. If anything, the observations we make about the world should break our hearts and burden us to want to make a difference. All around, people are hurting and searching. They desire peace and fulfillment but only find turmoil and heartbreak. Lost people should matter to us.
In Luke 15, we see the compassion of Jesus for the lost as He shares three parables concerning something lost but then found. The lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son show us that 1) lost people matter to God; 2) an all-out search is required to find those who are lost; and 3) a celebration ensues when one lost sinner repents and comes to Jesus.
We, too, can show compassion for the lost as a LIFE group, serving the community of Middle Tennessee together in Jesus’ name. Here are just a few things to think about as you mobilize your LIFE Group to serve the community:


  1. Pray for God’s guidance.
  2. Determine the collective spiritual gifts, passions and abilities of your group members and engage in a service opportunity that aligns with them.
  3. Discover needs in the community and discuss ways to meet those needs. You may also click here to learn of Brentwood’s local mission partners and the service opportunities they provide.
  4. Strive to form an ongoing relationship with a mission partner for an extended period of time. Consider establishing a start and stop time, like 6-12 months, rather than indefinitely.
  5. Calendar the dates to serve and be committed to the work.
  6. Share stories of God’s work through your mission involvement.

Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” If that is Jesus’ mission and if we are His followers, then His mission is our mission. We are called to seek and save the lost, too, sent to a community in need of the risen Christ to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel so they might be hear, believe, respond and receive His saving work in their lives.