As humans, we can get caught up in just what we see. We look at the child who is hungry, or the person who can’t get an education, and want to help them. While we’re helping people with physical problems, we can’t forget what our main goal is: to lead people to the King. Physical needs are filters that, if we aren’t careful, can get in the way of accomplishing the mission we’ve been given by God.
The purpose of ministry should be to lead people to God so that they can be led by God. We have compassion on people so that they can feel the compassion of Jesus in their lives. Jesus healed people of physical disabilities and illnesses while He was here on Earth, but it wasn’t just because He could. His miracles always pointed to a spiritual truth so that we would believe in Him.
Compassion is the “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” That means that we recognize that people have problems, and we want to help fix those problems. But we don’t stop just at the surface. Our objective as the Church is to minister to all people and tell them who God is and who God created them to be.
Jesus didn’t just heal people and then stop there. He cared about their eternal, spiritual needs, not just the ones that were on the outside. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” We are called by God to love and have compassion on others.
We can minister to people by caring for them and helping them with their physical, outward problems, but the end goal is always to help them see who they are in Christ. From the outside, many look like they have life figured out, but spiritually, they’re trying to earn God’s love on their own. By using eternal eyes, we will be able to show compassion to everyone, not just those we think need our help.