A story is told: a farmer was plowing his field one morning, just after the spring thaw. The fields were muddy! His tractor got stuck in the mud. The more he tried to get out, the more stuck it became. In time, he himself got stuck in the mud! His neighbor came by, looked at the situation, and shook his head. He said to the farmer, “This doesn’t look good! But I’ll tell you what. I’ll try to pull you out. But if I can’t, I’ll come and sit in the mud with you!”
Sometimes, in a spirit of compassion, the best way to help others is to assist them in getting out of a rough situation. Other times, in certain situations, the most compassionate thing we can do is to sit in the mud with a neighbor.
Our world is filled with people in need, needs great and small. Our world is filled with people who are lost and struggling. We’re told, and showed, in the Bible that Jesus had compassion on the lost, the hurting, the rejected, the outcast. Jesus went about healing, caring, feeding, lifting up such people. Jesus died for us and for “such people.”
Jesus walking the earth was never supposed to be a short 33-year stint! So Jesus invented the church. He gathered around himself “disciples” which means students, learners, pupils. He taught them, and then gave them authority to do what he was doing. He gave them his compassion and his energy. Jesus wanted disciples to see the world through his eyes.
The disciples became “apostles,” which means sent-ones, apprentice-workers, kingdom-workers. Jesus is our Teacher, but it’s not just book-learning. Jesus teaches us to see the world through his eyes. He strengthens us, feeds us, and gives us the tools we need. Then he sends us out to the work he did.
We never stop being disciples of Jesus. We never stop learning. We never have enough strength on our own to be apostles (sent-ones). So, yes, Jesus invented the church, a fellowship of learning, strength, compassion, a fellowship of doing the work of Jesus in the world.
Pray with me today for all the churches in our community, and in the world, that the compassion of Jesus would flow through them. Pray with me for an increase in disciples and apostles, learners and sent-ones. Pray with me for a deeper spirit of compassion, that we would help one another, or sit with one another, in the muddy times of our lives. Pray with me that this, and more, would be done in the name of Christ Jesus.