Waiting and Working: Demonstrating Mercy
In Luke 19, Jesus tells a parable about a nobleman who went away and returned as King to see what his servants had done with the riches he entrusted them. Jesus’s point in telling the parable can be boiled down: “We are servants, entrusted with the treasure of the gospel, and must be faithful in the business of the kingdom while we wait for Jesus’s return.”
This should get you thinking about how you might spend yourself, however many years you have left, for the glory of God. Dreaming big dreams and praying big prayers of how God will use you. In short, I want you to believe God will use you to bring glory to himself through how you live out your faith until he returns.
But what does this look like? Over the next few days, Let’s look back at Luke chapters 9–18.
We should be about the business of showing mercy toward those in need.
In Luke 10, a lawyer summed up what he thought obedience was by quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus says he’s answered correctly. When he asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells him the parable about the Good Samaritan. The man who is robbed and left for dead receives help only from the Samaritan—hated by the priest and the Levite who just walked him. It is the Samaritan who is the good neighbor, the one who showed mercy. Jesus says, “You go, and do likewise.”
Christians are those who are called to have our eyes open and looking for those in need in order to demonstrate mercy.
But showing others mercy begins with understanding we are in need of God’s mercy. John Bunyan said, “It is very unbecoming of God’s people to conceal their sins, for it diminishes the mercy of God.”
Mercy starts with a love for others that comes from a love that God has shown us. We’ve been set free from having to love others in order to gain salvation, so, now that we have salvation, we can freely love without an ulterior motive of trying to get God to love us.
The Samaritan didn’t expect to show mercy that day. He didn’t plan to walk by the man on the side of the road. How he responds reveals his heart. There is an outward-facing disposition that makes him ready to care for the needs of the day.
Showing mercy to others starts with a love for people and a putting others’ needs first above our own. Therefore, if you want to grow in showing mercy to others, start by fighting against the selfish desire to put yourself and your needs first in every situation.
Devoting ourselves to the good work of showing mercy involves our hands being loosened on the grip of self.
The call: Keep your eyes open so you are able to demonstrate mercy to those who need it.
The cost: Control over our schedule.
The question: How do I respond to unexpected situations where people’s needs intersect with my plans or desires?
The prayer: God, what needs do you want us to be aware of so that we can be a part of the solutions and display you in the process?