Midweek Push

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HAVES AND HAVE NOTS

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV)

I was raised to do good deeds. I was taught to hold the door for people coming in behind me, to rake leaves for the elderly neighbor, and to visit the nursing homes and shower them with songs and prayer. I remember how I looked forward to Sunday evenings at the church house because the junior girl’s class would take fruit baskets to the sick and shut in and serve communion to those who were unable to attend morning service. As a child, I didn’t understand what we were doing. For me, I was just excited to be outside instead of sitting in the building; I was glad to be with my friends; and it was so cool that on those days, I didn’t have to wear “Sunday clothes.” It wasn’t until I experienced it for myself and developed a mature adult mind that I realized that one major asset of my service was missing, compassion.

I recall a time where the Holy Spirit convicted me at a volunteer opportunity where I was serving food and setting up housing for a group of individuals. The people that we served were introduced to us as “have nots.” They didn’t have food, they didn’t have housing, they didn’t have money…they didn’t have, they didn’t have, they didn’t have! That rang in my head. Guess what, we treated them as have nots. When it came time to serve them, we were offended when they asked for something additional than what we had prepared, we were offended when they didn’t like the food, we were offended that they didn’t seem to appreciate all the GOOD DEEDS we had done; after all they are the “have nots.” God, the Holy Spirit, showed me the error in my attitude. We were merely serving because we were told to do so, not because we wanted to. Actually, the ones who were the “have nots” were the Christians. We had not compassion, we had not love, we had not selflessness, and we had not the passion of Christ.

David Livingstone said, “Sympathy is no substitute for action.” There is no way that we should give without heart. We shouldn’t serve because we feel sorry for people or to get a pat on the back. The old saying, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is very true, and I’d just like to add that people don’t care HOW MUCH YOU HAVE! Sometimes we want to broadcast what we have at the WRONG times. What benefit is it for a person who is hungry in your presence to hear about the 5 Star meal you ate last night?

Where is our compassion and connection; where is our Christ-likeness?

We can’t be Christians without being Christ-like.

We can’t categorize people by what they have.

We can’t pull ourselves up higher than we ought.

It’s time to stop confusing service with sorrow and mission with mandate.

In Matthew 9:36 we see Jesus having compassion on the people because He knew they were without a shepherd. Just like Jesus, we are to see people as souls in need of a shepherd, not as people who are in need of us. We can’t save mankind, but we can serve mankind! We are not the Savior, but the servants! We are the conduits through which God brings people closer to Him. One thing I encourage you to take from this message is without Christ, we all are a part of the “have nots.” Without Him, we have not peace, we have not joy, and we have not salvation! We all stand in need of something…we all need Jesus. None of us have arrived to the point where others deserve to be treated poorly.

So the next time you decide to hand the man or woman on the street a dollar bill, or to volunteer in the community, or to use your hands to give, remember, it’s not about you. It’s not YOUR PLATFORM, it’s all about Christ and showing compassion one to another (1 Peter 3:8).


Shanita R. Jones


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3 comments

  1. Outstanding message today! What a blessing! This was so well put together and honest. It made me think back to my times of service and put everything in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    Rhonda Minter

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  2. Thank for the push!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone should be that way about things in life. Giving all Glory to God to be able to give a helping hand and not to broadcast what you have and what others don't have. It's not about feeding your inner self for recognition or to put people on pedestals!

    Love you, Mom

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  3. Thank-you. I think we all need to be reminded of this. It's is way to easy to start out doing something for the 'right' reason, only to end up shining the light on our selves.

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