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I am preaching a Lenten Sermon Series entitled, “The Gospel According to YOU.” This Sunday I will be
preaching on our witness of Christ in our COMPASSION. The sermon text is Matthew 25:31-46.
To have compassion is to be aware, tuned in, responsive, and sensitive to the needs of others. It is a trait
with which one learns to live, so that it becomes an instinctive response on our part to the needs around us.
Jesus certainly showed compassion in the Gospel stories. He reminds us, “Inasmuch as you did it for the
least of these, you did it to me.” He reminded his followers that their love for God was evidenced by their
love for neighbors. He said knowing God’s forgiveness would lead them to show mercy towards others. Finally
he taught that in experiencing God’s love, they would, as a consequence, extend that love to others.
Jesus not only taught his followers about compassion, he demonstrated it by the way he lived. Everywhere
he went, he showed what it meant to have loving compassion. He showed compassion for the crowds
he taught, the sick he healed, the blind he cured, the grieving he comforted, and the hungry he fed.
Compassion is one of the most significant characteristics of Christian discipleship. William Barclay, in his
commentary on Matthew 25 reminds us, “that God will judge us in accordance with our reaction to human
need. God’s judgment does not depend on the knowledge we have amassed, or the fame that we have acquired,
or the fortune that we have gained but on the help we have given.”
Edwin Markham tells the story of the pious shoemaker named Conrad. Conrad received a vision that on a
certain day, the Lord would visit his shop. The appointed day came. Conrad waited expectantly as the hours
passed, but the Lord did not appear. During the day, he gave a beggar a pair of shoes, another some food,
and helped a lost child find his mother. But he was disappointed that the Lord failed to come. The poet
“And Conrad sighed as the day turned gray, Why is it, Lord, that your feet delay? Did you forget that this
was the day?”
Then soft and in the silence, a voice was heard, “Lift up your heart, for I kept my word; Three times I
came to your friendly door, Three times my shadow was on your floor. I was the beggar with the bruised
feet, I was the woman you gave food to eat, I was the child on the homeless street.”
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
See You Sunday,