A Compassionate Heart

According to the wire service reports, there is a place in Australia that has become a favorite spot for those who want to commit suicide. It is a rocky cliff near Sydney Harbor called The Gap. For nearly 50 years, a man by the name of Don Ritchie has lived across the street from The Gap. Don sees it as his responsibility to try to keep people from jumping.  It is estimated he has saved more than 160 lives by offering conversation, coffee or tea. In some way, he tries to bring them hope.

Don keeps a constant vigil toward the cliff with binoculars. On at least one occasion, a person almost dragged Don over the cliff. He has been described as an angel. The reporter chronicling his story reports that Don has said, "You can't just sit there and watch them. You gotta try and save them. It is pretty simple."

Shouldn't that compassion found in Ritchie be even more true for the believer?  As Christians, we see everyday people drowning in hopelessness and despair, desperately in need of the hope found in the gospel. Equally, we see many people who claim to be Christians but have no idea what being a disciple of Christ is all about.

Novelist Ayn Rand had mesmerized a student audience at Yale University with her prickly ideas. Afterward a reporter from Time magazine asked her, "Miss Rand, what's wrong with the modern world?" Without hesitation she replied, "Never before has the world been so desperately asking for answers to crucial questions, and never before has the world been so frantically committed to the idea that no answers are possible."

 "To paraphrase the Bible," she continued, "the modern attitude is, Father, forgive us, for we know not what we are doing-and please don't tell us!"

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter who lived  to 1982 but her words ring even louder today. For it is to such a generation that God has called today's Christian-- an age looking for something real and constant - truth and hope.

God has chosen you and me to be His personal representatives to this generation. I'm am sure He could have selected a far more efficient means, but he has chosen each of us, His church, to take His message of light to a dark world. 

But that takes a heart of compassion and burden for the lost.  In Matthew 9:26 it states, "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." Our Lord's heart was broken by the hopeless state of those He saw. We too should have that burden. Also, we should have a similar burden for many Christians who are floundering without an understanding of how to live in this world, who need to be taught God's "game plan" for life.

This week's focus on world evangelization should be a natural outgrowth of our heart for God's kingdom in the world, whether it be local or overseas. Let's keep that focus this week...and even in the weeks to come. With that focus, we commit ourselves to "invest in" and "invite" those who need Christ and His guiding truth...here and abroad.