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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE BEST INVESTMENT YOU WILL EVER MAKE

Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.

Pity is the deep sorrow that is felt for the suffering or misfortune of another. It is the compassion one has for another. For pity and compassion to be profitable, both to the one feeling pity as well as the one in need, we must be moved to action. Notice what James says about a situation such as this; If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit (James 2:15-16)? There may be pity in this example, but there is no profit. The one in need is not benefited and neither is the one that has pity on another. There was nothing loaned to the Lord, and there will be no repayment back to you from the Lord for your unbenovelentfeeling of pity. The reward from God is found in pity that results in charitable action. God rewards the demonstration of pity, not the feeling of pity. You must be moved with compassion to give aid and assistance to fill the needs of other, not just recognize that needs exist.

Peter also stresses this point. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing for blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9). Here we are encouraged to have a sympathetic attitude toward others. We are to recognize the needs of others and fill that need to the best of our ability. We are to do so even to those that may offend us; to return blessings to those that may have been offensive to us. This is the "calling" of all Christians. In doing so, we lendeth unto the Lord. And how will the Lord repay us? We shall inherit a blessing. This, reader, is the key to eternal life. The demonstration of our love for others is our duty while here on earth. This is what we are called to do, to return blessings to others - even to our enemies.

This attitude of pity and compassion is well illustrated in the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus was asked by a certain lawyer ...what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asked the lawyer, What is written the law; how readest thou? The lawyer, being well versed in the Old Testament law, answered by saying, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus replied, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shall live (Luke 10:25-28). Although the lawyer was able to quote the law, he did not put his pity and compassion into action as God intended. He asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor (Vs. 29)? In other words, to whom am I to show this compassion? Is it to my family members? Yes. Is it to my fellow Pharisees? Yes. Is it to all Jews? Yes. No doubt the lawyer thought it should stop here - that this alone would justify himself. But Jesus proceeds to show the lawyer the true extent to which he should demonstrate his pity and compassion by relating to him, what we refer to as, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

In this parable, recorded in Luke 10:30-37, we find a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was attacked by thieves, robbed, beaten and left along the road near death. A priest passed by and moved to the other side of the road to ignore the wounded Jewish man. A Levite also came by and did the same thing giving no attention to the Jewish man in need. These two "religious" people, the priest and the Levite, were the very people one would think would have compassion for theirfellow Jew in such need, and give him proper assistance. From the nature of their religious offices you would think they would be obligated to do works of mercy. However, they preferred to ignore this Jewish man in that was in desperate need. They may have had pity for the wounded Jew but there was no action, on their part, to come to his aid. Then a Samaritan passed by - a person that was a religious enemy of the Jews. This man saw the need of the wounded Jewish man, had pity and compassion on him, dressed his wounds, bought him to an inn for refuge and paid the innkeeper to take care of him. After relating this parable, Jesus asked the lawyer, which of the three men was a good neighbor. The lawyer answered, He that showed mercy. Jesus said to him, Go thou and do likewise.

Friend, the best investment you will ever make in your life here on earth, is to go thou and do likewise! In demonstrating your compassion to others through good deeds, you lendeth unto the Lord. Be assured, righteous,benevolentChristian, God will repay you for your compassionate kindness.