Acts of compassion are what John Wesley called works of mercy. They are the simple things we do out of kindness to our neighbor, often without giving them much thought. In his General Rules, Wesley listed these before works of piety. Basic acts of compassion can and should be performed by Christian disciples at every opportunity, which is why they are listed as the first of Christ’s teachings in the General Rule.
— Gayle Turner Watson,
Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups
A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out. A subjective person came along and said, I feel bad for you down there. An objective person came along and said, Its logical that someone would fall down there. A Pharisee said, Only bad people fall into a pit. A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit. A self-pitying person said, You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit. A charismatic said, Just confess that you’re not in a pit. An optimist said, Things could be worse. A pessimist said, Things will get worse. Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him from the pit!
— Barbara Johnson
Come out, while you are still able! But be afraid indeed of the awful possibility that lurks for us of not being able any longer to come forth. The prodigal son dragged himself out in time (cf. Luke 15:11-32); the rich man at his feast was no longer able (Luke 16:19-30).
— Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes
As Lazarus was stuck with his lot in life, so the rich man is stuck with his lot in death. His sin? He refused to cross the chasm between him and Lazarus in their first life. His inability to walk outside his gate, to share his abundance, doomed him forever. He kept himself apart, and such is his sentence for eternity. He became what he loved.
— Joyce Hollyday, www.sojo.net
In a world where distance no longer determines who your neighbor is, paying the price for equality is not just heart, it’s smart. The destinies of the haves are intrinsically linked to the fates of the have-nothing-at-alls.
—Bono, in Jeffrey Sachs: The End of Poverty
· How do you personally cross the chasm described in this parable? Is this chasm unique to Jesus’ time or does it exist now?
· How important is it for Christians to cross the chasms between us?
· The rich man wanted to send a message to his family. What messenger gets your attention about the chasms in our lives?
· How do you participate in acts of compassion?