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Faith, compassion – abstract or concrete?

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By Dave Henning / April 7, 2019

“I think it’s easy to talk about things like faith and obedience and compassion in abstract terms.  The more abstract, the less convicting the truth is.  So let me get concrete.  Faith equals God-ordained risks in the face of fear.  Obedience equals God -honoring decisions in the face of temptation.  And compassion equals Spirit-prompted generosity in the face of greed.”- Mark Batterson

“Who you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you’re saying.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In Chapter 3 (“A Drop in the Bucket”) of Primal, Mark Batterson begins with a brief discussion of what psychologists call the drop-in-the -bucket effect.  This effect notes that when we feel overwhelmed by the scale of a problem, we often do little about it.  Thus, focusing on a mountain of statistics shifts our minds into an analytical mode.  In turn, this short-circuited a compassionate response.

Therefore, logical objections negate compassionate actions.  As a result, we don’t feel it’s our responsibility, we’re not prepared, and we believe we won’t make much of a difference anyway.  Of course, Mark asserts, we must count the cost.  However,  the author exhorts:

” . . . if God is speaking to your heart, don’t let your mind get in the way of what God wants you to do.  Sometimes loving God with all your heart simply means listening to your heart instead of your head.”

Furthermore, Pastor Batterson encourages, go underground beneath your actions to discover your motivations.  For, as Mark contends, it’s possible to give without loving.  But, you cannot love without giving.  God blesses you so that you can bless others.  While you make money to make a living, giving money away defines the way you make a life.  And that’s where you find true joy.

Today’s question: Do you tend to see faith, obedience, and compassion as abstract or concrete?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Pre-decisions: the most important decisions”

About the author

Dave Henning


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