Charles Swindoll: Obscurity

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“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25: 34-36

“As one understanding soul expressed it: “Compassion is not a snob gone slumming. It’s a real trip down inside the broken heart of a friend. It’s feeling the sob of the soul. It’s sitting down and silently weeping with your soul-crushed neighbor.”

Parceling out this kind of compassion will elicit no whistles or loud applause. In fact, the best acts of compassion will never be known to the masses. Nor will fat sums of money be dumped into your lap because you are committed to being helpful. Normally, acts of mercy are done in obscurity with no thought (or receipt) of monetary gain.

Compassion usually calls for a willingness to humbly spend oneself in obscurity on behalf of unknowns. How few there are in our fast-paced, get-rich-quick society who say to such a task, “Here I am, use me.”

Truly compassionate people are often hard to understand. They take risks most people would never take. They give away what most people would cling to. They reach out when most would hold back with folded arms. Their caring brings them up close where they feel the other person’s pain and do whatever is necessary to demonstrate true concern.

If God’s people are to be living examples of one thing, that thing ought to be—it must be—compassion.”

Charles R. Swindoll in Day by Day with Charles Swindoll (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005) week 11, Friday reading. The header photo is the Dixon Chapel at Cherry Hills Community Church, the site of Sophie’s wedding.

It was a beautiful ceremony and celebration yesterday. I am thankful for all who surrounded Sophie and Peter with love and support. Few will receive thanks for all the little things they did, but I am so grateful.

Obscurity. Not the destination most people aspire to visit. Think about it. Obscurity is where God leads us when we aim to live, give, serve, and love like Jesus with compassion.

Showing compassion will lead us to forget about ourselves and to set aside our agenda in order to serve those who are before us in need. In this sense, compassion leads us toward obscurity.

When I ponder the reason for this, I see the brilliance of God’s design for us. Any other path would lead us to pride. This path helps us maintain our perspective and reflect God’s generous love to the world.