New Hope Publishers
In Active Compassion: A Calling to Care, Gayla Parker gently but firmly reminds believers what they have been called to do: touch others with Godís compassion. The most effective evangelistic tool we have is our ability to love others actively on Godís behalf.
Drawing extensively from Scripture, as well as her own experiences on the mission field, Parker focuses primarily on the story of the paralytic found in Mark 2:1-12. A cursory read of the narrative causes our attention to rest on the afflicted man who was ultimately healed. This time, however, Parker draws our attention away from the main character and onto the supporting roles played by the paralyticís friends. These four men had enough compassion for the paralyzed man to pick him up, place him on a mat, and cart him all the way to Jesus. Undeterred by the crowd that pressed in on Jesus in Capernaum that day, the men made an opening in the roof above Jesusí head and lowered the mat all the way down to Jesusí feet. The paralyzed man was healed that very day.
Parker offers many examples of people in her own lives who have understood that active compassion never gives up or turns away. It does whatever is necessary to reach people with Godís love. Parker is the executive director of the Womenís Missionary Union in Maryland and Delaware and a former International Mission Board missionary to the Philippines. Yet, without a heavy hand or guilt trip, she reminds each one of us that we can reach the lost without entering into foreign missions. There is a rich and fertile mission field in our own backyard.
At the end of each chapter, Parker provides dozens of practical and user-friendly examples of how we can share Godís compassion with others in our daily lives. These acts of kindness can open doors to hearts that have long been sealed shut and can enable us winsomely to draw the lost to Christ. Ė Ann Sullivan, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
So often when we hear the story of Jesus healing the paralytic who was lowered through the roof of a house, we center on the miracle Jesus performed that day. Jesus certainly changed the life of the paralytic that day. But what about the four men who carried their paralytic friend to Jesus? What would have happened to the paralytic had they not been willing to do whatever necessary to carry him to Jesus? His life may never have been transformed.
The same is true for us today. There are many people we pass every day that may need someone to have compassion on them. There are co-workers, family members, neighbors, and friends who may need to be ďcarriedĒ to the feet of Jesus. So many of us want to make a difference in the world, and as believers we can take that one step farther and make a difference in eternity. For the paralytic not only was his earthly life radically changed, his eternity was changed. Even though it all happens in only 12 short verses, it encompasses many insights that can inspire us today as we become difference makers in our world.