I know a woman who is spiritually gifted with compassion.
She and I used to meet for coffee when I was going through some really hard days. I remember walking in to the coffee shop feeling numb or okay and then I would sit across the table from her and she would ask how I was and the tears would come before I could stop them.
And when they cleared I would look up and see her face – a mirror of my own – tears pouring down her cheeks.
She took on my pain.
After every time we met I remember thinking about how powerful the gift of compassion can be. I would walk into those meetings feeling isolated and unknown, and without saying a word she would enter into my pain with me and remind me that I was not alone.
She would rarely speak – knowing that I had no shortage of prophets in my life. Instead she would offer her gift, her part of the body to me. She knew that my perseverance was going to take the fullness of the Body of Christ. In the same way I needed people to lead me in truth, I needed someone who would literally weep with me until the tears stopped coming.
There are three people on my mind today:
(1) A dear friend who is experiencing a painful anniversary
(2) An old friend who is watching a marriage slip through her fingers
(3) Those whose lives have been turned upside down by tornadoes this week
It’s not hard to take on the pain of the first two people on that list. It’s actually hard to even write about their circumstances without tears pricking my eyes.
But that kind of compassion is not an indicator of a spiritual gift. It is an overflow of His grace, for sure, but to feel compassion for people you love is not unusual It’s a common grace given to the image bearer of God, even those who don’t know Jesus.
Here’s what I think: if I want to reflect the fullness of our God to this world, I need you.
I will sit here and God to help me in my weakness and enable me to enter their pain with them. I will ask Him to let me reflect Him more fully. Compassion is a calling on us all – not just those with the spiritual gift.
But God didn’t save a person, He saved a people. And He calls them together – not individually – to display His fullness; each one using the grace given to them.
If the people in this broken world are going to see the face of Christ, we are going to need to lean on one another’s giftedness.
I’m sitting here at my computer asking God to use my giftedness to spur on your giftedness so that together we can build the body today.
I will use my words to tell all of you with the spiritual gift of compassion that your gift is not secondary or superfluous. I will tell you that for our body to grow, you will need to engage that giftedness. You are going to need to get on your knees and pray for those who lost everything in Oklahoma. And you’re going to need to enter into all the pain that they are feeling.
And I know it’s hard. Using our gifts is painful and exhausting, and perhaps yours more than most. But please – don’t seek to stifle the pain, but press into it so that you might intercede and display to this world the truth of the character of God.
Ask God to fill you up with a supernatural gift – for the sake of displaying His true character to this world.