Listen to this devotional
This study can be done personally or with a friend. Check out the download section at the end of this study for offline and printable versions which include teacher’s notes.
And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.  “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples.  “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.”
Matthew 9:36-38 TLB
Jesus saw the needs of the people around him and felt something about it. He wanted to do everything he could to help them. Instead of being overwhelmed and focusing on himself and how he “couldn’t handle” taking everyone’s needs on, he chose to turn to God so that he could have the strength to help. How do you respond when you see a lot of needs? When you see people who need help?
What is compassion?
Compassion is having concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It is not simply feeling bad for what someone else is going through, but taking action to help and love them.
Are you compassionate?
When you see someone having a hard time, how do you respond? How have others been compassionate toward you? How does it feel to have someone take action to care for you?
Chance the Rapper – Donated $1 Million to Chicago Education and Mental Health Services
Something I try to instill in others is to just be a good person. It’s a decision you make a million times a day. But if you just keep trying, good stuff comes to you in an ordained way.
Chance the Rapper didn’t see the need in Chicago schools and feel bad about what was happening, he decided to do something about it. His compassion led him to action.
What is a relationship in which you need God’s help to be more compassionate?
We Love When We Feel Loved
Therefore her sins-and they are many-are forgiven, for she loved me much; but one who is forgiven little, shows little love.”
Luke 7:47 TLB
Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.
1 John 4:19 TPT
Our Need for Love
We will never be motivated to love others if we don’t see our need for God’s love first. Seeing how God loves us anyway even after we’ve messed up or hurt him is motivating to choose to love others.
Love is a Grateful Response
Our decision to love isn’t based on the actions or qualities of someone else, but is determined by our willingness to see and be grateful for how much we are loved.
What are you grateful for?
How have you been loved even when you didn’t deserve it? Give an example of something you’ve needed to be forgiven of. How did seeing God’s love motivate you to love others?
Who Needs Your Voice?
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
Luke 6:35-36 MSG
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT
When we see that God loves us even when we don’t deserve it, we can love others without expecting anything back. This means choosing to be compassionate toward people who may be difficult to love, but need it anyway.
There are people around us who need our love and compassion, people who need our voice when they can’t speak up for themselves. Maybe it’s a friend going through a hard time, or a classmate with special needs you can include at school. No matter who it is, we can be the one who is a voice and speaks up for them.
Who needs you to be their voice and care about them?
What can you do to reach out and show them compassion?
Love Big, Start Small
This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.
Matthew 10:42 MSG
Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.
Philippians 2:4 TPT
When we look at the needs of those around us, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. But the point of compassion isn’t to change the world all at once, but to make a bunch of small differences, one person at a time.
Though it doesn’t matter how big or small the act of love is, what does matter is that we take action. Be interested in someone else’s life, care about what matters to them. If you see someone having a hard time, talk to them and help them through it!
Who can you choose to love today?
What one thing can you do for someone else that will make all the difference to them?
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Talk it through: How is God calling you to be compassionate in a specific relationship?
Take action: What are you going to change with God to become compassionate?
Walk through step by step what it would take to change. The leader should think through some of this ahead of time. Be as detailed as possible.
- What steps will this decision involve?
- When will you do them?
- Possible pitfalls?
- Who will you ask to help hold you accountable?
This section is meant to be done together over the next 1-2 weeks. Set up times to do some of these together or to do them separately and then talk about what you learned.
- Read together: 1 Corinthians 13 TLB, 1 John ERV, James NLT. How can you take action in being compassionate?
- Watch together: The Ultimate Gift and Pay it Forward
- Do together: Make a Vision Board with friends of what you can do together to give to the people and community around you