“Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, ’I hope you feel better soon.’ ”
This short story from the internet exemplifies an empathetic soul. The boy in the wheelchair was someone who understood and felt the struggle of this individual and wanted to help. Empathy is simply “walking in another’s shoes and knowing how they must feel.” The boy showed compassion with his simple act of kindness expressing that he felt what she was going through.
Jesus came to us in human flesh that he might know and understand our feelings of hurt, sadness and frustration. “Jesus wept.” John 11:35 is the shortest sentence in the Bible,yet so profound. He reveals his deep sadness at the death of his dear friend, Lazarus. Those words are comforting to us at the loss of a loved one. He understands our grief and sadness. He understands our suffering.
Within a year both of our fathers passed away. Our children would miss the love of their grandfathers. Our mother’s lives were forever changed. We comforted and supported them as best we could while experiencing our own grief. Living a distance away, we were pressed to resume our jobs and return our children to school. We were grateful for the compassionate church and community widows who swooped down and gathered them under their protective and loving wings. They had walked in their shoes and understood the grieving process of losing a spouse.
“The harvest field is plentiful but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:28. As workers in God’s kingdom we are to empathize with others. It is the simple act of shining God’s love through acts of compassion. Let us put on our empathy shoes as we walk the road with others in the harvest field. Pray each day that God shows us the path of love to take. May we respond, “Send me!”
Send us forth as workers in your harvest field. Cultivate empathy in our hearts that we may reap the harvest of compassion reflecting God’s love to others. Amen
Written by Janece Nelson
The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin.
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.
A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
Matthew 9:35-38 35
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Janece and husband, Mike, have been members of Sheridan for more than 12 years. Janece is a retired mathematics instructor teaching at the middle school and college level. They are blessed with two children and three grandchildren (ages 7-13). Janece finds her greatest joy in spending time with her family and friends. Her passion is writing devotions for patients in hospitals and rehabs she sees every Monday as a Sheridan hospital visitor. As a Teammate, she also mentors girls at Boys Town. Janece credits Faith Builders and Companions in Christ for her spiritual growth.