Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions How Do We Steer a Course Between Compassion and Wisdom?

How Do We Steer a Course Between Compassion and Wisdom?

compassion and wisdom

How do we steer a course between compassion and wisdom?

“I don’t have any money for gas, and I have to take my four year old in for brain surgery tomorrow, and I just started this new job, and I don’t get paid for another week…oh, and what time are your services, I’m looking for a church…”

I notice the meth sores. I smell the cigarette smoke. I can see the glazed over look in her eyes.

I also saw them pull up into the parking lot. Nice car. There’s a dude out there, probably in his twenties, clearly strung out on something—and now making his lady go in to beg for some cash. I don’t see a car seat.

It’s that last line of her speech that kills me. I’ve heard it so many times before. She’s learned that if a pastor or church thinks they might have a potential disciple they’ll be more inclined to opening the coffers.

This lady isn’t sincere. She is trying to play us. She wants church money to buy meth.

If you have limited resources in the face of seemingly unlimited need, you have to make judgment calls like this all the time. Should you help somebody who isn’t all that serious? Should you help somebody who is “coming to Jesus” for all the wrong reasons?

I end up telling her that we don’t have the resources right now to help. She leaves in an angry huff, upset that the church doesn’t care about her daughter enough to give $20 for gas so she can get her brain surgery.

Compassion and Wisdom

What do I do with this?

I think about situations like this when I read about Jesus feeding the 5,000. They didn’t pack their own lunch. They weren’t taking responsibility. The gospel accounts, especially in John, tell us that they are fickle. They aren’t serious disciples.

But what does Jesus do? He says, “you feed them…”