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How's My Heart?

June 10, 2019

When he saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? One of the distinctions between these two types is what gives a person energy. If being WITH people builds your energy, you are more than likely an extrovert. If you need to be AWAY from people to gather energy, you are more than likely an introvert. So, what do you think? Was Jesus an introvert or an extrovert?

That’s a trick question. 😊 He likely was a perfect ambivert; a balance of both. But it really doesn’t matter. Seeing the crowds didn’t pump Him up and get Him motivated to throw a party or jump in front of them to speak. Seeing the crowds didn’t make Him anxious or desire to run and hide. The crowds didn’t make Him think about Himself; when He saw the crowds, He thought about them.

Jesus saw the crowds, not just as a mass of people, but He discerned their needs. He saw they were harassed (“disturbed persistently; tormented, as with troubles or cares; bothered continually; pestered; persecuted”) and helpless (“lacking protection or support”). They were like sheep who were wandering about without a shepherd. This realization didn’t make Him give up on them, pity them, or want to get away from them. He didn’t shrug His shoulders and hope someone did something. He was moved with compassion.

“Moved with compassion” is more than feeling pity or sympathy for someone. This describes the feeling that comes out of the innermost being. It is the gut-wrenching, pit-of-the-stomach feeling of awareness. But it is not a feeling of powerlessness. It is a conviction that something must happen. When you read in various places that Jesus was moved with compassion, it was a deeply heart-felt emotion that led to action. When Jesus was moved with compassion, He did something! True compassion involves anger at the wrong and injustice, and action to correct it or at least comfort through it.

We need to look on others and be moved with compassion, not merely pity or sympathy. We can become the hands of Jesus to them. They need to be able to look into our eyes and see the love and compassion of the infinitely caring God looking back at them. It’s our calling and privilege.

  • Who and what stirs your compassion today? What action can you take in the name of Jesus?