Compassion Needs Flexibility

23 Jan

The following quote comes from The Attributes of God by A. W. Tozer page 70.

After the first world war the United States with its big heart gave vast sums of money to the dislocated orphans of Europe, but they didn’t have enough to meet the need. In one of the places where they were taking in orphans, a man came in, very thin, with large unnaturally bright eyes, thin cheeks and thin arms, leading a little girl. She also showed signs of malnutrition– eyes too large and bright, her little abdomen distended and her thin little legs and arms too small and too thin for her age.

This man led her in and said to the person in charge, ‘I would like you to take in my little girl.’ And they asked him if she was his daughter. ‘Yes’ he said.

‘We;;’ they said, ‘ we are awfully sorry but our rule here is that only full orphans can receive any help. If one of the parents is living then we can’t take responsibility because we just do not have enough. There are too many full orphans for us to take a half orphan.

And he looked down at his little girl and she looked up at him questioningly with big, too bright eyes and then he turned and said, ‘Well you know I can’t work. I’m sick. I’ve been abused. I have been in prison. I’ve been half-starved and now I am old and I can’t work. I can barely stagger around. But I brought her down for you to take care of her’

And they said, ‘We’re sorry, but there is nothing we can do.’ He said, ‘You mean if I were dead, you’d take care of my little girl and feed her and she could live and have clothing and a home?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Then he reached down and pulled her skinny little body up to himself and hugged her hard and kissed her. Then he put her hand in the hand of the man at the desk and said, ‘I’ll arrange that,’ and walked out of the room and committed suicide.’

How much of a difference in that man’s life if the man at the orphanage simply said, ‘we cannot help you but let me put you in touch with someone who can.’ We need to be ready to help those who do not meet the rules and one simple act can change people’s lives. The church needs to be flexible in giving its aid to those in need.

The church may need to change its priorities in order to better help those who need it. Or spend less on its buildings or programs in order to meet the challenge that comes with dealing with those who are destitute. There will always be those who take advantage of open arms but that comes with the territory and the church just needs to be wise in handling the problems that come their way

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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in academics, Bible, church, faith, General Life, illness, leadership, theology


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