Thursday, July 16, 2009

Compassion Fatigue?

Many of you have heard the story told in Luke 10:30-37 about the Good Samaritan. The story tells of a man who is walking along a road and is beaten and robbed. He is laying on the side of the road when 2 different church figures (pastor/priest-types) walk right past him. Instead of stopping to help, they both go to the other side of the road to stay away from him. Then, a third man walks by. This man is one who is looked down upon, one who is usually ignored or ridiculed. However, this man is the one who stops and helps the hurt man, going so far as to take him into town and have him cared for at his own expense.

This story, or parable, is one that most of us have heard since childhood. When I was teaching on a mission trip to South Africa we even used this parable during one of our lessons. However, I wonder how many of us really "get" this story; I wonder how many of us actually "live" this story.

Today while reading The Hole In Our Gospel, I was confronted with the term compassion fatigue. Having never heard this term before, I was instantly struck by its meaning. We are part of a generation who are inundated with information. We hear statistics; we see pictures and videos; we even have friends who may have visited another country and have shared their stories. But are we really listening? Are we so overwhelmed with everyone who is asking for money or is telling us about the poor that we tune it out?

I hope not, but I fear that this is the case. Statistics show that we as Americans give less than 5% each year to international causes. Have we forgotten that our neighbor is not just the person who lives in our neighborhood? Jesus clearly tells us in The Good Samaritan that our neighbor is the person in need, whether we know him personally or not. His mandate in Luke 10:37 tells us, "Go and do likewise." Jesus tells us to be like the Samaritan. He shows us clearly that our job is not just to take care of someone we like--or even someone who likes us. We are to help those who need help. Fight the urge to grow tired of helping, or tired of hearing about those who need help. I know it may seem like you can't do anything to help, but you can. You can be the difference in someone's life that changes him forever. Don't put it off. Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything. (Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision)

God has a special purpose for your life. He desires to use you, so why not now? Why can't today be the day when you show the kindness of Jesus by giving a bottle of water to the man working on your A/C? Why can't today be the day when you smile and pray for the person who is taking forever to ring up your groceries rather than muttering under your breath? Why can't today be the day you bring joy to a senior adult by visiting a nursing home or volunteering for Meals on Wheels? Why can't today be the day you sign up for a short term mission trip to show Christ to someone who may not have heard about Him before? Why not now? And if not now, when?

1 comment:

  1. Kim- You make a great point. All of us can do something.. no matter how "small" it may seem to us. It can make a huge difference!
    I just wanted to say that Meals on Wheels in Collin County is experiencing great need right now financially. Many seniors have had to be cut from the program due to lack of funds, and some have had a reduction in the # of meals they receive each week. Even if people are not able to volunteer their time right now, Meals on Wheels is in desperate need of financial contributions. Please prayerfully consider a donation to this very worthwhile organization. thanks!