|Vol. 12 No. 11 November 2010||
The Psalmist declared, “What shall I render unto Jehovah for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of Jehovah… I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of Jehovah” (Psalm 116:12, 13, 17). It was said that the Lord sent two angels to earth to gather the petitions and thanksgivings made by his followers. Both angels returned to heaven in distress. The angel bearing the petitions was truly weighted down with his burden. The other angel bringing the prayers of thanksgivings was nearly empty handed. The lesson is obvious and clear. Most of God’s children are more apt to make requests, petitions and supplications rather than the giving of thanks. This is often the case in private and public prayers. We need to listen to our prayers and note that this is true. Our brothers who lead the public prayers during our assemblies should express gratitude to God for all the blessings we have in Jesus (Ephesians 1:3) on behalf of the congregation. It is sad to observe that this is not done very much. I remember hearing a fellow preacher lead prayers in two different assemblies during Gospel meetings wherein he never gave thanks for the grace and love of God. It is so needful that we all express our gratitude to our gracious heavenly Father for all of life’s blessings that flow so freely from His bountiful hand of grace (James 1:17).
Here are some ways by which we all can be more positive in rendering thanksgiving unto God. We need to enumerate daily our blessings of life rather than dwell on the injuries, disappointments, trials and sorrows that we have experienced. When we think in this manner, we chase away the negative thoughts from our minds. Express in your private prayers the gratitude in your heart for your family, friends, food, shelter, raiment, opportunities, freedom and a thousand other things that God has given you. Your daily life should be in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Such will indicate your thankfulness for His death for you. Your countenance of happiness and your trusting manner of life will show others that you are thankful to God for His unmerited favor. Our songs in worship should be filled with praise and adoration to God and the Lamb. Sad to say, most of our songs are focused on heaven and of exhorting one another. This is not to say that such should not be done, but to leave songs of praise to God out of our singing is not right. It would be good if our song leaders began our worship assemblies with songs of praise to God. Our public prayers should burst forth with such expressions as we assemble to render our homage and devotion to God with awe and godly fear. We should carefully read the Book of Psalms and notice how much space is devoted to the praise of the Lord God even when the writer was experiencing trials and tribulations in his life. His life was filled with thanksgiving and so should our lives be filled with thanksgiving. David wrote in Psalm 95:2, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving…” Again, he stated in Psalm 100:4, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…” and in Psalm 69:30, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
[Editor’s Note: Thanksgiving is not just a holiday trimmed with turkey, etc. on the American calendar. ~ Louis Rushmore]
Gary C. Hampton
Though it might seem to be improper for polite conversation, compassion is usually the English translation for splanchnizomai meaning properly “to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion, (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)” (Thayer 584). It is a fitting description for Jesus, as is seen by the fact that inspired men used it twelve times (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 18:27; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2; 9:22; Luke 7:13; 10:33; 15:20).
Jesus taught about compassion in answer to the lawyer’s question, “And who is my neighbor?” The Samaritan, in contrast to the priest and the Levite, saw the man who had been wounded and left for dead and had compassion on him. It was displayed in his pouring oil and wine on his wounds, bandaging them, setting him on his own beast of burden, taking him to an inn and caring for him (Luke 10:25-37). The Master also described the compassionate father of the prodigal running to him, falling on his neck and kissing him, before killing the fatted calf for a celebratory feast (Luke 15:11-24).
Jesus demonstrated compassion toward the hungry, sick, demon possessed and bereaved. He had compassion on the hungry multitudes, which led Him to feed the four thousand (Matthew 15:32-38; Mark 8:1-9). Our compassionate Lord touched and healed the leper (Mark 1:40-42). He cast unclean spirits out of those who were demon-possessed (Mark 5 5:1-20; 9:14-29). Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
Jesus’ compassion for the lost was boundless. The Savior saw people as a ripened harvest desperately needing workers to bring it in, then sent the disciples out by twos to preach (Matthew 9:36-10:1, 5-15). Our saddened Lord, who had just learned of the death of John, took the disciples aside to rest (Matthew 14:13a; Mark 6:30-32; Luke 9:10). The multitudes learned of it and followed (Luke 9:11a). His compassion compelled Him to tell them about the kingdom, healing their sick and feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13b-21; Luke 9:11b-17).
The Son of God came to earth as a man because He was compassionate (Hebrews 2:5-8). The Incarnate Son of Man tasted of death for every man (Hebrews 2:9-10). His purpose was to sanctify man and deliver him from bondage to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:11-15). He served as a merciful and faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:16-17). Jesus understood mankind was being tempted (Hebrews 2:18), which “referred first to the action of putting someone to the test to see what good or evil is in the one tested, and second, because so many broke down under the test and committed sin, the word came to mean a ‘solicitation to do evil’” (Wuest 66). He came to give them “aid,” properly “to run to the cry (of those in danger); hence univ. to help, succor, bring aid” (Thayer).
God’s Son showed compassion for the multitudes when He fed them, healed their sick and sent the disciples forth on the limited commission. Yet, no greater act of compassion has ever been displayed than Jesus’ death on Calvary. Thank God for our compassionate Lord!
Thayer, Joseph H. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977.
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. Vol. Two. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973.