Stretch or Shrink?

by Pastor Mark Jordan

I read an inspiring quote the other day: “Let our hearts be stretched out in compassion toward others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf). It got me thinking about how my heart shrinks and stretches based on life’s circumstances. There are people with whom I’m more generous and patient than others, and I grieve that. Ultimately, I want to be like Jesus, and since He told us to walk two miles with someone if we’re forced to walk one, I know I must double my efforts (Matthew 5:41).

The Apostle Paul wrote, Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV). This comes on the heels of Paul’s teaching about living in such a manner worthy of the Gospel, or the Good News of God’s salvation through the forgiveness of sins thanks to Jesus Christ. 

We all face circumstances where our ability to be compassionate shrinks or stretches…no doubt about it. But let’s commit to be like Jesus, allowing His heart, mind, and spirit to guide us in all we say and do. In Jesus’ name, let it be.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your tender compassion toward me. Forgive me when I do not reciprocate that to others. I want you to stretch me so I can experience more room in my heart, mind, and spirit for you and your people. I ask this in Christ’s holy name. Amen.


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