Caring for others is a foundational Christian virtue. Compassion drives us to reach out in our neighborhoods, workplaces and schools. Untold numbers of us travel to difficult places to express compassion through the love of Christ.
Jesus modeled this attribute when Matthew records: "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd."
In our world of great conflicts, resulting in a tsunami of needs, we must take time to contemplate the call of Christ to show compassion. Recently I learned a new term, "compassion fatigue." Because of this phenomenon many have become "battle weary," and many are encouraging "selective compassion."
As I study God's Word, I don't find "selective compassion" lived out in its pages. I continue to encounter my Lord seeing every person individually with spiritual, physical and emotional needs. Jesus identified with their condition. He did not flinch and move away. His example challenges us to see them and move to action.
Many of you may not realize it, but California Southern Baptists have a group that has practiced the virtue of compassion for many years. They are your ministry evangelism field missionaries, those who work in community, resort, migrant, literacy and chaplaincy ministries and are the conscience of California Southern Baptists' compassion.
These dedicated men and women are the ones who challenge us to see needs and have compassion with the love of Christ for our fellow citizens. They encourage and enlist and equip our churches and members to develop local ministries to care for individuals by sharing a cup of water, clothing and feeding those in communities across California.
With the reorganization of some national ministries, CSBC is no longer able to continue support of these 13 missionaries who are being phased out over the next few years, beginning with four in 2013. It will certainly be a loss to the churches of our convention. Please pray for these dedicated men and women who spur our congregations to be more like Christ, with a heart of compassion. To Dorothy, Fred, Julie and Tammy - California Southern Baptists thank you for your service. We love you!