“Who is my neighbor?” The question asked of Jesus by the lawyer in the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10. Jesus answers this question with a parable of a man (the Samaritan) who was not actually connected to the man who was beat and robbed and left on the side of the road. I mean not connected by family, nor by business, nor by tribe or people group, nor by religious affiliation. Really not connected except as a fellow human being.
The scripture says the Samaritan saw the man on the side of the road and had compassion. Compassion is defined as: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. As I have continued to meditate on this passage during our focused time of Community Compassion giving, I find it is this ‘concern for the suffering of others’ that causes us to enter the story of another human being. Only when we enter the story of another human being do we really gain understanding of their misfortune.
The Community Compassion offering is about people’s stories. Often from a distance we are tempted to judge whether a person in need “deserves” the situation in which they find themselves. This offering is about creating opportunity for us as a community of faith and the agencies CFC supports, like Granny’s House or Coyote Hill or Love INC, etc., to move from a place of distant judgement to entering into a person’s story with sincere compassion. Many stories evoke compassion in me, but that is not what happened in the parable. The Samaritan saw a man beaten and robbed on the side of the road, and though he did not know his story, he had compassion. That challenges me to have compassion before knowing if the story is worth my compassion. What an extravagant God we have that invites us to lead with compassion.
As we give to the Community Compassion fund this year, we give because we know people who have suffering and misfortune, and together, we enable ourselves as a church to act out of compassion in tangible ways week in and week out throughout the year.
Let me encourage you to consider giving. If you’d like to be a part of our Community Compassion offering this year, here is a quick link to give. Just select Community Compassion from the drop down menu.