A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.
An Irishman was down on his luck and was panhandling on Fifth Avenue before the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade got underway in New York City. As a couple strolled by, he called out, “May the blessing of the Lord, which brings love and joy and wealth and a fine family, follow you all the days of your life.” There was a pause as the couple passed his outstretched hand without contributing. Then he shouted after them, “And never catch up to you!”
Perhaps we can identify with that couple. Our mailboxes are stuffed with appeals from various organizations; our phones ring with individuals seeking pledges; some people even come right to our doors with solicitations.
After a while, we can fall into an attitude that sociologists call “compassion fatigue.” It simply means we turn our back even on worthy causes because we can’t handle another request.
Fortunately, God never suffers from such an ailment. No matter how often we go to Him with our needs, He never turns us away. His compassion is always available. He treats us as one who is as tender as a bruised reed or as fragile as smoking flax.
Christians need to take care that we do not become fatigued in our compassion. The apostle Paul exhorts us, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9-10).
With limited time and funds, we must prayerfully ask the Lord what He would have us do when we are presented with an opportunity to give. Once we know His will, however, let nothing keep us from showing compassion. Succumbing to compassion fatigue can squelch the work of God.
DUTY MAKES US DO THINGS WELL; COMPASSION MAKES US DO THEM BEAUTIFULLY.