Save your sympathy.

It’s Sunday. You’re sitting in church. You’re watching a missionary presentation. You’re eyes are glued to the screen. You’re ears have tuned out all sound except for that of the presentation.You see the images of those who live in a place where this is no church or ministry reaching the people. You hear the statistics. You feel your heart began to race; your breathing begin to deepen. You are captivated in almost a romantic way. You know you’ve got to do something to help. Maybe you’ll never actually physically go to where the people in the presentation are, but you know you can give something…do something…do ANYTHING. You have to. It’s what the cause of the Christ and his Kingdom demands.

Church is dismissed. The images and sounds of the presentation are still fresh in your heart and mind. You’re determined. You’re going to do more–more than you’ve ever done before to get the gospel to those who need it–to those who have never heard it. Today, you’re committed to changing for the better. Today, you’ve made the choice to be more compassionate.

It’s Monday. You’ve got errands to run. You walk out of your house and see your neighbor of 5 years–a neighbor you haven’t invited to church in a while; a neighbor you’ve never taken time to share the gospel with. You wave, and say hi. You hop into your car and drive to your favorite store. The parking lot is full of people. The moment you see them, all you can think is, “I can not WAIT to get out of this place.” You’re now on a mission–get in and out without as little human contact as possible. You walk through the packed parking lot with your eyes forward, ducking and dodging anybody who even looks like they’ve got something to say. You’re simply too busy today. You’ve got a lot to do. You’re not a mean person by any means. You’ve just got a limited amount of time and a long list of priorities.

You get into the store, and your new mission goes into code red. There are people–people everywhere. You pull out your shopping list and start to execute your master plan. Just as soon as you get going, you bump into an old classmate. You’re glad to see them. You hug them. You both share a few details about how things are going. Nothing too deep. Just the basics. Then you’re on your way. There was no mention of the Savior. There was no mention of YOUR Savior.

You continue walking through the store. Aisle after aisle, person after person, soul after soul. Men, women, boys, and girls. All of them in need of the truth that you have–the truth that will remain unshared today. You’ve been given the cure for the sin of all men, but you’ve kept it to yourself. A cure that is unadministered is nothing more than a death sentence. Your silence is not golden. You silence is crimson. For your silence is what will stain your hands with the blood of those you did not share the precious gospel of Christ with.

On Sunday, you said you’d do more. You said you’d BE more–be more compassionate. Yet on Monday, when given the chance to do just that, you did the exact opposite. Why? Because you were not moved with compassion. You were filled with emotion. You were filled with sympathy.

Now before you get me wrong, I’m not here to condemn anybody by any means at all. I’m guilty of being the person in the above example. This really isn’t so much a blog post as it is a soliloquy. Again, I am not here to tear down my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am here to speak the truth in love, and the simple fact is that sometimes, the truth hurts. We need it though. We need to be confronted and challenged at times. We need to be pushed outside of the 4 walls of our Christian comfort zone. That’s my motive for writing this post–to push myself and others out of the place of complacency and into a place of real, Christ-like compassion. Not just for those around the world, but for the souls in our own cities and towns right here at home.

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34

The word compassion comes from the Latin phrase meaning “co-suffering”. When Christ saw the multitudes in this passage of the Bible, He did not merely sympathize with their pain. He felt it. He identified with it. he took it upon himself, not just to feel their pain, but to DO something about it. Most Believers today feel a great deal of sympathy in regards to the people of the world, but many of us do not love them with a Godly, Christ-like compassion.

Today, the world tells us that true love and compassion equals tolerance. This is plainly not true. True love–true compassion does not tolerate sin. True love and compassion does something ABOUT it. God did not look down from heaven, see our sinful condition, and just feel sorry for us. He took action and sent His only Son, in the fullness of time, to save us (John 3:16; Galations 4:4-5). Christ did not come to earth to tolerate our sin. He came to do something about it. He came to free us from it. Like John the Baptist said,

“Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.”

So true love and true compassion have nothing to do with tolerating the problem and everything to do with DOING something about the problem.

In verse 35 of Mark chapter 6, you read,

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:”

One verse prior, we see the Savior moved with compassion. But in this verse we see his disciples with a completely different perspective. There were multitudes of people all around them. People from all over the place just wanting to catch a glimpse of the Savior, and yet the disciples did not see the great opportunity that they had been given. They were apparently more concerned about how late in the day it was. How often is that the perspective we have? Scores upon scores of people around us and we’re too busy looking at our circumstances to see their souls. We love the watch the videos of people in foreign places, but when it comes to the people right outside of our homes, we don’t think twice. That’s not compassion.

Now, I have nothing against supporting foreign missions. I think every church and every Christian should. But we cannot go on neglecting the mission fields that we’re already on. Your job. Your college campus. Your neighborhood. The local mall or super market. All of these places have one thing in common…THEY ARE FILLED WITH PEOPLE. And those people have souls–souls that Christ wants to save. God tells us that He’s not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2nd Peter 2:9). We’ve all heard and read that verse, but do we really get it? If we did, I think we’d be a lot more concerned about the people in our hometowns.

In Acts chapter 1, the first century Believers were commanded to reach, by the power of God through the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. How were to to accomplish this? More importantly, how are WE to accomplish this task today? It’s simple. We need to be willing to GIVE to support missions internationally, and we need to be willing to GO and support missions locally. Most of us find it easy to support missions work in other places. But if we were really compassionate like Christ was, we’d be more willing to go into the “highways and hedges” of our own cities and towns and compel people to come meet the Savior (Luke 14:23).

I know I haven’t shared anything new or previously unheard, but that’s just the thing. I think that maybe we’ve heard these kinds of things from the Scriptures so many times without really taking them to heart that we’ve become complacent, and ,in some cases, down-right cold. Sure, we get that sinking feeling in our guts whenever we see images of people in a missionaries video presentation, or hear statistics about how many people who have not heard the gospel message, but sitting around getting caught up in our feelings is NOT what Christ called us to do. That can not and will not fulfil the Great Commission. Go. Ye. That’s what’s going to get the job done.

As nice as I know how to say it, Dear Christian, save your sympathy, because your sympathy is not going to save a dying world. Only a Christ-like compassion that moves you to take action will.

– Ben Sebrell

About the Author:
Hi. I’m Ben Sebrell. To put it simply, I’m basically a dude with a laptop and a Bible. I got saved when I was 13 years old, and since then I’ve seen God do some amazing things in my life. I’m blessed in ways I will never be able to articulate. I am currently serving as the music/worship leader at my local church (Hampton Roads Independent Baptist Church) under my father, Roger Sebrell, who is the pastor. I surrendered to preach in the summer of 2010 and Lord willing, I’ll be able to start Bible college in January of next year.
I’m seriously honored and humbled to have been asked to write a post for TheFullTimeGirl. I do not take opportunities like this one lightly. My prayer is that those who read this post will be changed, challenged, and better equipped to to serve the Savior.

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Who, What, Where?

I’m really excited to have a really great guy write a post for my blog! Super thankful for his encouraging heart, and his realness, always. His article has blessed me already, and I’m excited to share it with you. I am praying it is a blessing to you also. Love, thefulltimegirl

First of all, I’d like to say that I am honored and humbled to have been asked to write a guest post for thefulltimegirl. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading the stuff Lauren posts just like her other readers. With all of the garbage that is thrown in people’s faces on the internet, it’s pretty refreshing to be able to sit down and read something encouraging, challenging, and uplifting from an awesome Christian writer. So again, I’m honored, humbled, and for lack of a better term, pretty stoked to be able to do this!

With that being said, I’ll tell you guys a little about myself and then proceed from there. My name is Ben Sebrell. I’m 24 years old. I am currently in college for Web Development. I’ll be graduating in May, then going into Bible college to prepare for ministry.

I grew up in a Christian home (my Pop is a pastor), and got saved when I was 13 years of age. Literally the best day of my life. The only way I know how to describe it is to say it was like breathing air for the first time. And that’s pretty serious for me because I have asthma


::praise break::

9 years later at the age of 22, I finally surrendered to preach after fighting it for several years. Second most liberating experience of my life. When I finally gave in to God’s will for my life, I found a sense of direction that I had been lacking for some time.

Since then, I’ve been learning a lot of different things about a lot of different things. I won’t say it’s all been easy peazy lemon squeezies, but it I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. God’s been good to me. In fact, He’s the only thing good IN me, and I’m thoroughly convinced that He’s all the good anyone could ever need.

Looking back over my life, it’s amazing to see how God orchestrated everything in a way that only He could. Every struggle, trial, test, and even temptation has served a purpose. He knew me before there WAS a me, and had specific plans for me. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, I believe He has plans for all of His children. He has a purpose just for you.

“And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” John 1:42: KJV

Now, you might be thinking…”Uuuuuuuuh…did this dude just through a random Bible verse into the middle of this post?”. Let me assure, I have been known to be pretty random at times, but this verse ties directly into what I’ve been writing about. Let’s break it down, and open it up a little, shall we?

This verse is taken from John’s account of the calling of the first disciples of Christ. More specifically, this verse tells of Jesus’ being introduced to Simon by his brother, Andrew. Now, this verse seems pretty minute in terms of theological quantity at first glance, but there is SO MUCH to be seen here.

1. “..And when Jesus behled him, he said, Thou art Simon…”.
How amazing is it that Jesus knew EXACTLY who Simon was? Think with me for a minute. A lot of times, people read Bible stories and forget that these were REAL people. These things ACTUALLY happened! So put yourself in Simon’s shoes…or sandals rather.

You see your brother walking up the street with a man you’ve never met before. The man looks at your for a second, and calls you by name. Chances are, one of two things is going through your mind. Either your brother told this man about you on the way over, or this guy makes a lucky guess. Either way, he knows who you are upon seeing you.

It’s so encouraging to know that we have a God who knows each and every one of us. He never gets us confused with one another. He takes time to be good to all of us even though none of us will ever deserve that goodness. God knows your name, and the day He met you, He called you…by name…into a new a glorious life– a new reality.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I look at me, and then look at what God has revealed to me about Himself through His Word, I know I could never even dream of earning or deserving His company or companionship. And yet, He tells me in His Word that He’ll never leave me or forsake me. He calls me his friend. He calls me His child. He knows me. He loves me, and there’s nothing that could ever change that.

Just like Christ knows me, He knew Simon…but it didn’t stop there…

2. “…the son of Jona…”
Now, again. Think with me. This man you’ve never met not only calls you by your name. He goes on to call your dad’s name. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who Simon WAS, but He also knew where Simon CAME FROM.

The day God met you and saved you, He didn’t just know who you were at the moment in time, He knew everything about you BEFORE that moment in time. He didn’t just know the here and now. He knew the there and then. He knew the good, the bad, the ugly, and the everything in between.

Again, I can only speak for me here, but to think that God, in His Sovereign Holiness, could look at me and know not just the sin that was in my life presently, but EVERY sin I had ever committed, and STILL love me enough to want to hold me in His arms blows my mind…every time. The amazing grace of God wrecks me, and it ought to wreck you too!

Who among us has anything to boast about? The Bible tells us that even what we perceive to be our own righteousness is nothing but filthy rags at the feet our our King. To think that God could look at us, see our filthy rags, both past and present, and still offer to us salvation through His Son– the greatest expression of love mankind has ever known, ought to literally bring us to our knees and faces in humble awe and adoration.

Christ knew who Simon was, and where he came from, but it keeps going…

3. “…Thou shalt be called Cephas…”
So you meet this man who somehow knows who you are. On top of that, he knows where you came from and what you’ve been through. But then…he tells you that he’s basically going to give you a new name! Seriously…think about it! What would be going through your mind at this point.

Now, I don’t know what all Simon was thinking by now. The Bible doesn’t really record much about it. However, I do know this. The beginning of John 1:42 tells us that before Jesus ever spoke a word to Simon, He beheld him. He saw him. And again, the Bible does not record this, but I believe with all of my heart that when Jesus and Simon locked eyes, Simon saw a love that he had never seen before. I believe Jesus looked at Simon with the same compassion He did when He saw the multitudes in Matthew 9:36.

I mean, we know how the rest of the story goes, right? Simon and the other disciples literally dropped everything and followed Christ. These were real men with real jobs. And yet, when Christ saw and spoke to them, nothing in that moment was able to keep away from the compelling love of the Savior. Imagine how it must have been to physically and literally see the arms and eyes of love! Wow!

Getting back to the main point, Jesus basically tells Simon that He’s going to be called Cephas from now on. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who SImon was, and where he came from, but He also saw what Simon COULD and WOULD be! Now here’s where I start to lose my composure a little bit (in a good way)!

God knows me, and where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through, and everything I’ve done. And someway…somehow He looks at me says, “I can use you if you are willing to follow me.” Not only does good love each of us and know each of us, but He can USE each of us as instruments and tools to carry His plan! I have NO clue how or why a perfect God would want to use an imperfect me, but (pardon my vernacular)…I’m down with that!

Look, I don’t have all of the answers. I’m the farthest thing from perfect I can think of. I’ve failed Him more times that I will ever care to try and remember, but I know that He who begat a good work in me will be faithful to complete it if I stay faithful to Him. I’m not sure what God sees in me, but I know He sees something, and that motivates me to keep pressing forward no matter what. He sees and knows what I can be, and if He can see it, I want Him to have it. It’s that simple!

You know, a lot of time, people come down on Simon Peter pretty hard. I mean, we always hear about the time where he practically put his foot– toes heels and ankles in his mouth on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then there’s the the time when he cut off a man’s ear trying to “defend” Jesus. Everybody knows that one, and personally, I think he was aiming for that dude’s neck and the guy saw it and dodged it. And THEN there’s the time where he claimed he would be willing to die for Christ only to turn around and deny him three times in one night.

When you look at stories like these, it’s easy to be think Simon Peter was kind of a hot-headed loser. However, that’s not all there is to Simon Peter. Yea, he made some mistakes, but we can’t forget about what happened in Acts chapter 2. Simon preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 souls were saved! And if you think that’s worth a shout, look over in the very next chapter and read about how 5,000 came to know Christ after the lame man at the temple gates was healed! That’s a total of at least 8,000 souls that came to salvation as a result of Simon Peter’s boldness for Christ. That same hot-headed passion that got him in trouble so often was the very thing God used to draw 8,000 people to Himself! How awesome is it to think that God can even use our FLAWS for His honor and glory? Only God can pull something that incredible off!

::another praise break::

There is a God who knows you inside and out. He knows the whole story. He WROTE the whole story. And He wants to use you. He has a purpose–a specific plan for your life. It doesn’t matter how far gone you think you are, or how hopeless you feel like your situation is. He desires nothing more than for you to put your heart and life into His hands and give Him complete control. He knows who you are. He knows where you come from and what you’ve been through. And He sees and knows what you can be for furtherance of the Gospel. Are you willing to follow Him like Simon and the disciples did? Are you willing to pursue the Face of He who pursued you with His love?