Observant Compassion

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”  (Mark 12:41-44 NIVUK)

Observant Compassion
“FRIEND: What do I do when I don’t like who I am?  ME: Hang out with people who do like who you are.” (Richard Wagamese. Embers One Ojibway’s Meditations p 64)”

I like that. It is always fascinating how self-critical we can be. While I challenge friends when they operate from a self-deprecating place – they often laugh because I share the same vulnerability.

Last week I spent time thinking about Jesus’ capacity for observation. He sat and watched – in this case peoples’ offerings. When we listen to him teach however, we know he is a keen observer of us, of nature, of inner struggle and intensely competitive personalities.

Whether he said, “look at the birds, the lilies” or “look at the donors”, we know he is seeing with compassion and a desire to affirm and help. Yes, he noted the minimal sacrifice of the affluent but he really got excited about one who gives from limited means.

When I am too aware of my limited means I need to hang around with someone who affirms that it is a good place from which to give and serve. When we have good friends and a Good God observing us with compassion we are encouraged to generous service.

Compassionate God, thank you for observing us closely and kindly. You know my areas of weakness and vulnerability and you enable me to change. I am grateful that you take joy
at the humblest acts of courageous generosity – my littlest acts may be most important to you. Let me hang out, conscious you are looking on and actually like us …. for Jesus’ sake.