The Shepherd’s Care – Connecting with Compassion
Let me write briefly on an activity I want to call, The Shepherd’s Care. This is an incredible gift that some folks have and it astounds me, speaking naturally, when I see it in others. There’s no greater example of witnessing a Shepherd’s Care at work than observing it in the Lord Jesus and how He was able to connect with people; that Great and Good Shepherd of the sheep.
Matthew 9: 35-36 NIV
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
This is an incredibly moving passage. Looking on the multitudes, the Savior was moved in compassion for the needy about Him; even at such close proximity He saw the whole picture! The NIV translates the crowds as harassed and helpless! While in the midst of the day-to-day rigors of His ministry, He was aware of the needs about Him.
Most everyone who reads this passage in Matthew 9 is deeply affect—who wouldn’t be? That’s the reason we find these verses in the scriptures. As much as I’d like to believe everyone is capable of such insights continually, realistically it’s not the case! At times we need to be prodded and nudged by the Lord in the direction of the sheep.
Just as amazing to me are the men and women who have this special gift of seeing the needs of others and possess a natural capacity to extend themselves. God gives them keen insights of compassion and they connect with the needy as the Lord saw them. They are men and women who have a Spiritual Gift of a Shepherd’s Care and see these things naturally with little to no external encouragement from others or the Bible.
Paul seems to indicate this same gifted calling in someone involved with him in his ministry. Paul writes to the Philippians of Timothy…
Philippians 2:19-20 KJV
19 …I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
That’s not an insult to the rest of Paul’s fellow workers; it’s just an acknowledgement of the Spiritual Gift of a Shepherd’s Care that Timothy possessed. I’m suggesting this natural care linked with the ability of Connecting with Compassion to people is the same gift that the Lord displayed! It is no wonder we discover in reading historic references that Timothy eventual becomes an elder of the church at Ephesus. Connecting with Compassion as the Lord did is a Spiritual Gift!
J. Robert Hanson