Mission Devotional - October 17, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters. Lord, open our ears that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed. Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us. Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one. Amen. - Mother Teresa

Scripture: Matthew 14:13-21

Journal: How is your compassion level these days? Where (or to whom) is God asking you to show compassion today? How will you do that?

Reflection: There seems to be a direct link between compassion and the giving of ourselves in life and ministry. It seems that one always needs to be the fuel of the other. Jesus had just heard the news of John the Baptist's gruesome death and had decided to pull away from the crowds and go into solitude to process it all, but the crowds just couldn't stay away. They hurried around the lake and were waiting for him when he and his disciples reached the other side. I don't know about you, but if it were me, I would've been thinking, "Good grief. Can't you guys give me a little time and space? After all, my cousin has been brutally executed. Go away and come back another day." And who knows, maybe the disciples were feeling the same way. But not Jesus. He had compassion. The word used here literally means that he was moved with love from the very depths of his being. While the disciples were saying, "Send them away," Jesus was saying, "They need not go away. In fact, you give them something to eat."

It seems that the giving of ourselves - or our loaves and fish in this instance - must flow out of a heart of compassion. Somehow we have to be able to put ourselves in the other person's shoes and imagine what battles they must be fighting in their lives right now. Because when we do, it does something in our hearts that makes this giving of life - and the multiplication of our meager resources - possible. Who are the crowds for you today? Who is God asking you to show compassion to, and how?

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Paul and Karan Davis have been working with TEAM in France since 1978 in church-planting ministries. They have planted churches in the southern suburbs of Paris, northwestern suburbs of Lyon, and more recently in the Alps region around Albertville. Pray today for the local government to grant the property a tax exemption and for other issues to be resolved in the neighborhood. Find out more about how you can pray for this church here.

Echo Resources is a ministry to ministers. ER's vision is for ministers to live in deeper intimacy with Christ, family and community, and to thus have greater effect for God's Kingdom. Pray today for Buddy Odom as he leads this ministry.

Closing Prayer: May I live this day compassionate of heart, gentle in word, gracious in awareness, courageous in thought, generous in love. - John O'Donohue