Compassion Like Christ
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” —MATTHEW 9:36 (NIV)
The triune God is one of incarnation. God took on flesh and in the person of Jesus. The Spirit has taken up residence in our lives. He lives, loves, and proclaims the grace of the gospel in and through us. In Matthew 9, Jesus is among the people –the harassed and the helpless– and it says that as he looked at the crowd, he was moved with compassion, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. The word “compassion” there is a very strong word: “It is expressive of the deepest emotion; a striving of the bowels—a yearning of the innermost nature with pity…” (Charles Spurgeon). The Spirit in us longs for us to be one with Him in His ache for people who walk among us as lost sheep.
Jesus also made some very bold claims about His purpose and deity. John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus truly is the hope of the nations by whom alone we become the very righteousness of God as we are covered with His life, death and resurrection.
Yet, in a world that touts pluralism and tolerance, the exclusive claims of Christ are not viewed favorably. To be compassionate Christ followers we are called to engage
with others about the true grace of God found in Jesus. But we don’t have to do it alone. God uses the Body of Christ in drawing others to Himself.
Research shows that an unbeliever needs to know 5.2 authentic believers before they consider the claims of Christ. What would it look like if you gathered your friends
who know Christ and those who don’t know Christ in a way that would allow for authentic relationships to develop. We call these gatherings “Third Spaces.”
In community building, the THIRD SPACE is the social surrounding separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the workplace (“second place”), where people spend most of their time.
Third Spaces, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.
Five Hallmarks of a Third Space
(according to Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place)
- Neutral Ground (Safety)
- Leveler (Equality)
- Conversation is the Main Activity (Connection)
- The Regulars (Familiarlity)
- A Home Away from Home (Security)
Your peers involved in Millennials NYC described it with this “Is… Is Not” continuum: