Ryan:Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Each daily challenges are meant to help us explore what it means to follow Jesus, even in the midst of a hectic, busy commuting lifestyle. If you’ve never explored following Jesus in the first place, I’d encourage you to start with our Christianity 101 course. It’s a great introduction to the basic things that we build on in these challenges.
We follow a daily, weekly rhythm to help us explore a different topic each week. Every Monday we introduce the idea for the week. Every Tuesday we study in the Bible. Every Wednesday we see how the Bible challenges and transforms our thinking and every Thursday we try to live out and put into action what we’ve been learning all week. Friday is the day for prayer and reflection; Saturday, a day for rest; and then finally, Sunday, is a day for community, especially Christian community because it’s hard to follow Jesus alone.
We’re going to be starting a brand new Christian community that meets in person regularly in Ajax starting this fall. Get in touch with me if you’d like to be part of the team that gets it off the ground. We’re working through a series right now called “Reset.” We’re looking at how following Jesus resets our views of all sorts of things in life. We’ve looked at several already. We’re coming close to the end of our series, but this week we’re talking about how following Jesus resets our views of compassion.
Now, this might seem a surprising topic to you. Why would we need to reset views of compassion =? Surely if somebody is compassionate, they’re already on the right track. They’re already doing what Jesus would want. That’s partly true but there’s more to it. For example, I recently saw an ad in Facebook. The ad was for something called “No Piracy” and said, “Valentine’s Day leave you broke? Get some of that cash back. Report unlicensed business software. Get paid.”
Now, paying for software is a great thing to do. Those who wrote it obviously need to put food on the table and they didn’t write the software with the goodness of their heart. It’s a business and it’s important to pay the price of somebody who’s done great work. However, you’ll note that the ad isn’t encouraging people to use licensed software and pay for it out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s encouraging people to blow the whistle on businesses that are stealing software in order to get paid themselves. They have intentionally put the selfish pursuit of money upfront and said, “If you want money, if you’re low on money at Valentine’s Day, then you should really snitch on somebody.”
You see what’s happening here. They’re taking something that is good and noble but they’re asking people to do it for the worst reasons possible. Think about it. Why does somebody steal software? Because they’re being selfish. Because they want to save as much as they can. They want to use something without paying for it. They’re stealing because they’re selfish. Now, why does somebody turn somebody in for money? Because they’re selfish. They’re trying to counter selfishness with selfishness, and it doesn’t really work.
Now, we can run into a similar problem with compassion. When people are compassionate and caring for all the wrong reasons, it doesn’t make it right. People can do good and kind things for others just to get some volunteering hours, to be seen as a good citizen, to raise their profile in a political campaign. You can imagine a list of reasons. Or they might be doing it for what they think of as good karma. I think if I do good and kind things for others, then they’ll have to do good and kind things for me. Or what I’ve done won’t go unnoticed and God of the universe or whatever will pay me back for my good work.
This is why stories if compassion for just purely altruistic reasons are so refreshing to hear. There was a story just a couple of weeks ago about a man walking along the side of the 401. Some people have seen him walking through Scarborough and it was only when he walked through Ajax that a tow truck driver actually pulled over and asked him if he was okay. He found the man severely hypothermic, probably with frostbite, hardly able to communicate, not able to say why he was on the highway at all.
He took the man, got him into his tow truck, and brought him to a church in Ajax before he was taken to hospital by ambulance. When the tow truck driver was interviewed he said he was just doing his job. Yes, I suppose he could say this was part of his job as a tow truck driver but not really. His job is to make money and he only makes money by towing cars, helping people out with vehicles, not people who happen to be walking along the highway.
I’d like to think the fact he brought that man to a church was a sign that there was another deeper reason why this man cared enough to stop and help another. The fact he consider the church a good first place to go suggest maybe when he says he was just doing his job, he was saying he was doing his job as a Christian, a follower of Jesus, not just doing his job as a tow truck driver. I don’t really know. I don’t know the tow truck driver. I don’t know his back story.
What does it look like for somebody to care and be compassionate because it’s their job as a follower of Jesus? We’re going to see this week how Jesus challenges us to reset our views of compassion, at something we do to take advantage of others or to promote ourselves, and instead to see compassion as something we do simply because we are his followers; that it’s part of our job as followers of Jesus.
We’re going to try to see that, but first I’ve got a question for you to explore.
Question: When have you seen someone show compassion for the right reasons and when have you seen them show compassion for the wrong reasons? What do you think might be the right reasons? Have a great discussion. I’ll see you tomorrow.