Blessed… Compassion

Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38, Common English Bible).

As I am writing this, I am a bit melancholy. Today (Saturday, March 18, 2017) my favorite all-time guitar player, Chuck Berry, passed away. I don’t want to say I am totally heart-broken or anything like that. I only knew the man through his music. I had never met him in person. As I work, I am listening to a compilation of Berry’s greatest hits.

When I read this passage I had something a bit different enter my mind. Perhaps it was because of Chuck Berry’s passing. I remember as a kid about so many rock stars, Elvis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry and so many more played before large crowds. Crowds followed them. When they would reach a concert site people would flock to the arena in hopes of getting a glimpse, or an autograph or an handshake. Crowds of fans would come hoping for something, hoping beyond hope that they might get something because they were present, even if they didn’t really know what they wanted.

As I picture events like today’s lesson, the events play out in my head with even bigger crowds for Jesus than some of these rock stars drew in their day. Jesus was the “rock star” of his day. And, as Jesus looked out on the crowds, he was filled with compassion for them. The lesson says that Jesus was filled with compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless. He hung out with these folks. He preached to them. He taught them. He healed them. The crowds might not have heard music but they saw quite a show. Miracles were very present with Jesus.

Jesus finished this lesson and the chapter with the famous line, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. When I read that in the context of the lesson I can’t help but think even Jesus was feeling pretty overwhelmed about that time with all there was to do. The Scriptures remind us that Jesus grew weary at times. The idea that here there was more to do than could be imagined isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

I think the same could hold true for us today. With the number of people outside the Church of Jesus Christ, the harvest is still plentiful and the workers grow fewer and fewer all the time. Perhaps the reason, all too often we lack compassion. Compassion is most evident when we are in the world showing the love of Jesus Christ. When we can have compassion on the crowds around us, it is then that we are most like Jesus.

What are you doing to show compassion to the masses?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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