“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” —Luke 7:12-13
Something has happened in the communication world that is driving me crazy. Robots call my cell phone several times a day with exciting news that I have won an exotic cruise, scored an amazing price on car insurance, or am eligible to receive a government rebate on a walk-in bathtub. Thankfully, my cell phone company knows my plight and flags those calls. When the caller’s number appears on my phone screen, the words “Scam Likely” appear in red letters.
As you have already guessed, I don’t answer those calls. However, I don’t totally avoid computer-driven attempts to influence my purchases. While resting my brain from editing the other day, I looked up a new camping accessory on the internet. Now every internet site I visit has pop-up ads for camping gear.
I know the robot callers and internet algorithms don’t care anything about me personally. They simply want to encourage me to purchase their products. In fact, most of us would admit that many people with whom we interact on a daily basis simply want something from us without having a genuine interest in us. If we are not purposefully aware of this tendency, we find ourselves falling into the same routine. We may engage in conversation with a co-worker just so we can ask for a monthly report. We take a friend to lunch in order to request a favor.
Jesus illustrates a profound example in our text for today. We see Him caring genuinely for a desperate woman. In most instances, needy people or their representatives approached Jesus with a request for His loving touch. In this story, the needy woman did not approach Jesus. He took the initiative and went to her. He felt her pain of having lost her husband, and now her son. These events left her destitute in a culture that did not provide well for childless widows. Jesus did more than feel compassion for her; He stopped the funeral procession, spoke words of comfort to the mother, touched the frame that held the dead man, raised him from the dead, and reunited him with his mother.
This is not an isolated incident. Jesus genuinely cared for every individual to whom He ministered. As he walked and talked with the crowds of people who followed Him, Jesus’ heart felt their hurts and needs. He reached out to help them.
Anyone who came to Jesus found a listening ear and an outstretched hand. He identified with people and did everything He could to help them.
Jesus’ example of caring genuinely for others challenges me to look past the pleasantries of daily interaction to see the hurts and needs of people. I want to really care about others the way Jesus cared. I want to do what I can to make a difference in their lives.
Prayer for the Week:
Lord Jesus, thank you for genuinely caring about me. I feel your love and presence every day. Use me to share your love and compassion with others so they might experience your presence in fresh ways as well. Amen.
Frank Moore is editor in chief of Holiness Today and general editor for the Church of the Nazarene.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.