Habits of Highly Effective Christ-Followers
Put First Things First – Part V
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:25-34 NLT
Key Verse: Matthew 6:33 NLT
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
Let’s continue our study of mercy and how important it is to highly effective Christ-followers.
Mercy is not only our ability to forgive, but it is also showing compassion to people who are hurting.
The “Parable of the Good Samaritan” helps us understand how important it is to show mercy to those whom others have turned their backs on. This parable is in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Let’s look at Luke’s version of Jesus’s parable. Please take a moment and read Luke 10:25-37 NLT.
Jesus told this parable to an expert in religious law who was asking a question to trip Jesus up. The question was about how to inherit eternal life. Here is the exchange between this man and Jesus:
Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10:26-28 NLT)
This expert in the law refused to give up and asked another question: “Who is my neighbor?” It is this question that caused Jesus to tell the “Good Samaritan” parable.
I am sure you know the story, so I will not go into any detail except to say that it is a story of true mercy, the kind of mercy that highly effective Christ-followers show. It is a story of actions of mercy for someone who had suffered at the hands of the unmerciful.
The New Testament describes mercy with two aspects, or as we might say, two sides of the same coin. Mercy is showing forgiveness when we have the power to get revenge or to retaliate. Mercy is also an act of kindness and love toward someone who is hurting.
Mercy is not about “feeling” sorry for someone but rather deciding to get involved in their lives. This mercy is not about acting out of guilt but of being led by God’s Holy Spirit to offer to help a person.
For example, I spent some time recently in a large city and while walking around saw many homeless people. Many of them had cups that they were holding out to get money from those who passed by. I felt guilty passing them without putting something in their cups. I did end up helping one person.
However, this experience reminded me of how difficult it is to determine when and how to help people with these kinds of needs. I concluded that I needed to continually stay alert to the Spirit and be obedient as best I knew how.
Father, help me to show mercy as You guide my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.