Save your sympathy.

It’s Sunday. You’re sitting in church. You’re watching a missionary presentation. You’re eyes are glued to the screen. You’re ears have tuned out all sound except for that of the presentation.You see the images of those who live in a place where this is no church or ministry reaching the people. You hear the statistics. You feel your heart began to race; your breathing begin to deepen. You are captivated in almost a romantic way. You know you’ve got to do something to help. Maybe you’ll never actually physically go to where the people in the presentation are, but you know you can give something…do something…do ANYTHING. You have to. It’s what the cause of the Christ and his Kingdom demands.

Church is dismissed. The images and sounds of the presentation are still fresh in your heart and mind. You’re determined. You’re going to do more–more than you’ve ever done before to get the gospel to those who need it–to those who have never heard it. Today, you’re committed to changing for the better. Today, you’ve made the choice to be more compassionate.

It’s Monday. You’ve got errands to run. You walk out of your house and see your neighbor of 5 years–a neighbor you haven’t invited to church in a while; a neighbor you’ve never taken time to share the gospel with. You wave, and say hi. You hop into your car and drive to your favorite store. The parking lot is full of people. The moment you see them, all you can think is, “I can not WAIT to get out of this place.” You’re now on a mission–get in and out without as little human contact as possible. You walk through the packed parking lot with your eyes forward, ducking and dodging anybody who even looks like they’ve got something to say. You’re simply too busy today. You’ve got a lot to do. You’re not a mean person by any means. You’ve just got a limited amount of time and a long list of priorities.

You get into the store, and your new mission goes into code red. There are people–people everywhere. You pull out your shopping list and start to execute your master plan. Just as soon as you get going, you bump into an old classmate. You’re glad to see them. You hug them. You both share a few details about how things are going. Nothing too deep. Just the basics. Then you’re on your way. There was no mention of the Savior. There was no mention of YOUR Savior.

You continue walking through the store. Aisle after aisle, person after person, soul after soul. Men, women, boys, and girls. All of them in need of the truth that you have–the truth that will remain unshared today. You’ve been given the cure for the sin of all men, but you’ve kept it to yourself. A cure that is unadministered is nothing more than a death sentence. Your silence is not golden. You silence is crimson. For your silence is what will stain your hands with the blood of those you did not share the precious gospel of Christ with.

On Sunday, you said you’d do more. You said you’d BE more–be more compassionate. Yet on Monday, when given the chance to do just that, you did the exact opposite. Why? Because you were not moved with compassion. You were filled with emotion. You were filled with sympathy.

Now before you get me wrong, I’m not here to condemn anybody by any means at all. I’m guilty of being the person in the above example. This really isn’t so much a blog post as it is a soliloquy. Again, I am not here to tear down my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am here to speak the truth in love, and the simple fact is that sometimes, the truth hurts. We need it though. We need to be confronted and challenged at times. We need to be pushed outside of the 4 walls of our Christian comfort zone. That’s my motive for writing this post–to push myself and others out of the place of complacency and into a place of real, Christ-like compassion. Not just for those around the world, but for the souls in our own cities and towns right here at home.

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34

The word compassion comes from the Latin phrase meaning “co-suffering”. When Christ saw the multitudes in this passage of the Bible, He did not merely sympathize with their pain. He felt it. He identified with it. he took it upon himself, not just to feel their pain, but to DO something about it. Most Believers today feel a great deal of sympathy in regards to the people of the world, but many of us do not love them with a Godly, Christ-like compassion.

Today, the world tells us that true love and compassion equals tolerance. This is plainly not true. True love–true compassion does not tolerate sin. True love and compassion does something ABOUT it. God did not look down from heaven, see our sinful condition, and just feel sorry for us. He took action and sent His only Son, in the fullness of time, to save us (John 3:16; Galations 4:4-5). Christ did not come to earth to tolerate our sin. He came to do something about it. He came to free us from it. Like John the Baptist said,

“Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.”

So true love and true compassion have nothing to do with tolerating the problem and everything to do with DOING something about the problem.

In verse 35 of Mark chapter 6, you read,

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:”

One verse prior, we see the Savior moved with compassion. But in this verse we see his disciples with a completely different perspective. There were multitudes of people all around them. People from all over the place just wanting to catch a glimpse of the Savior, and yet the disciples did not see the great opportunity that they had been given. They were apparently more concerned about how late in the day it was. How often is that the perspective we have? Scores upon scores of people around us and we’re too busy looking at our circumstances to see their souls. We love the watch the videos of people in foreign places, but when it comes to the people right outside of our homes, we don’t think twice. That’s not compassion.

Now, I have nothing against supporting foreign missions. I think every church and every Christian should. But we cannot go on neglecting the mission fields that we’re already on. Your job. Your college campus. Your neighborhood. The local mall or super market. All of these places have one thing in common…THEY ARE FILLED WITH PEOPLE. And those people have souls–souls that Christ wants to save. God tells us that He’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2nd Peter 2:9). We’ve all heard and read that verse, but do we really get it? If we did, I think we’d be a lot more concerned about the people in our hometowns.

In Acts chapter 1, the first century Believers were commanded to reach, by the power of God through the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. How were to to accomplish this? More importantly, how are WE to accomplish this task today? It’s simple. We need to be willing to GIVE to support missions internationally, and we need to be willing to GO and support missions locally. Most of us find it easy to support missions work in other places. But if we were really compassionate like Christ was, we’d be more willing to go into the “highways and hedges” of our own cities and towns and compel people to come meet the Savior (Luke 14:23).

I know I haven’t shared anything new or previously unheard, but that’s just the thing. I think that maybe we’ve heard these kinds of things from the Scriptures so many times without really taking them to heart that we’ve become complacent, and ,in some cases, down-right cold. Sure, we get that sinking feeling in our guts whenever we see images of people in a missionaries video presentation, or hear statistics about how many people who have not heard the gospel message, but sitting around getting caught up in our feelings is NOT what Christ called us to do. That can not and will not fulfil the Great Commission. Go. Ye. That’s what’s going to get the job done.

As nice as I know how to say it, Dear Christian, save your sympathy, because your sympathy is not going to save a dying world. Only a Christ-like compassion that moves you to take action will.

– Ben Sebrell

About the Author:
Hi. I’m Ben Sebrell. To put it simply, I’m basically a dude with a laptop and a Bible. I got saved when I was 13 years old, and since then I’ve seen God do some amazing things in my life. I’m blessed in ways I will never be able to articulate. I am currently serving as the music/worship leader at my local church (Hampton Roads Independent Baptist Church) under my father, Roger Sebrell, who is the pastor. I surrendered to preach in the summer of 2010 and Lord willing, I’ll be able to start Bible college in January of next year.
I’m seriously honored and humbled to have been asked to write a post for TheFullTimeGirl. I do not take opportunities like this one lightly. My prayer is that those who read this post will be changed, challenged, and better equipped to to serve the Savior.

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Visit Ben’s Website


  1. SO powerful …

    A few summers back I took a college missions class taught by a missionary to Africa. He talk about this very thing… He talked in detail about how we all have an automatic burden for the people we see presented on a screen because of how emotional it is… yet it is the call of God which will help us carry the gospel to them. It is the call of God that will take that burden and emotion and turn it into a passion for souls and in turn will lead us to do great things for Christ! Thanks for the reminder!


  2. I know this is an old post, but I had to comment. Just by the title of the post, I was like “Hmmm, I wonder what this could be about.” This is such a good point that you’ve made, though! Do you go to church with Lauren?


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