Escalating Our Christ-Like Compassion November 1, 2022
Tuesday, November 1st
Take5 Devotional today written by Pastor Jason McMaster, Executive Pastor
Escalating Our Christ-Like Compassion
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
As we read Acts 6, we see the need for more helpers to support the demands of the expanding church. Like many growing organizations, the early church experiences growing pains. We also see sin allowing for divisions to start within the body.
In this passage, the author, Luke, explains that there are two groups of Jews living in Jerusalem – the Hellenistic Jews and the Hebraic Jews. In this setting, there is a group of widowed women (Hellenistic Jews), born and raised somewhere else in the Roman Empire. For various reasons, these Hellenistic widows move back to Jerusalem. Unfortunately, they are overlooked in their time of need. Why are Hellenistic widows being overlooked and not the Hebraic widows? There are many commentaries and different points of view, but one answer is the fact that the Hellenistic widows are outsiders and everything from their first language, their customs, and their cultural upbringing become barriers for the Hebraic Jews to fully accept them.
What do you think were some reasonable concerns the Hebraic Jews may have towards the Hellenistic Jews who were more directly influenced by the Roman Empire? What may have been some unreasonable concerns the Hebraic Jews may have had towards them?
When my family moved to Atlanta four years ago, it was clear to us that we were outsiders. We did not grow up there and did not have some of the same experiences, values, and traditions. When we first moved there, we openly told people that we were from California. Without saying another word, there were quick responses that clearly communicated to us preconceived views – some were positive – most were negative – regarding our family’s values, faith, and politics just from finding out that we moved there from California.
We are each commanded by Christ to love our neighbor as yourself. The apostle Paul exhorts us in Colossians chapter 3 “as God’s chosen people…to clothe yourselves with compassion. ” We are commanded as believers to love others and to be compassionate.
You may be the only example of Christ someone else sees or encounters. How will the people you encounter see and feel the love of Christ in and through you today?