Being compassionately different

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Lyman Stone is an advisor for Demographic Intelligence. He highlights something which made Christians stand out from the crowd in centuries past:

“Probably a disease related to Ebola, the Plague of Cyrpian helped set off the Crisis of the Third Century in the Roman world. But it did something else, too: It triggered the explosive growth of Christianity… 

“Cyprian’s sermons told Christians not to grieve for plague victims (who live in heaven), but to redouble efforts to care for the living. His fellow bishop Dionysis described how Christians, ‘Heedless of danger… took charge of the sick, attending to their every need.’”*

That’s a pretty big example. Attending to scores of sick people in the midst of a plague in a pre-scientific era is no small thing. But other examples exist as well. These are acts of deliberate compassion when it’s not the easy thing to do.

There are people reading or listening to this devotional right now who I know have made a positive impact on others because of their humble compassion and commitment to helping others. They probably won’t be written up in a history book, but they are serving because of their love for Jesus.

When I ask people if they can name someone who has had a significant impact on the formation of their own faith, nine times out of ten they will name someone who has shown some sort of humble compassion and commitment to helping others. It has made them stand out. It has been an inspiration.

A child needs a mentor. A neighbour needs a friend. Someone cold needs a jacket. Someone hungry needs a sandwich. Someone at wit’s end needs someone to listen.

We’re all far from perfect. Some days are good; some we want to bury in the sand. But we seek to show humble compassion and a commitment to helping others.

It’s what we seek to do for others because it’s what God has done for us.


–*As per an article by Lyman Stone, advisor for Demographic Intelligence, quoted in: John C. Lennox, Where is God in a Coronavirus World? (The Good Book Company, 2020), 54.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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