Church Service for Churchill and Gilford United Churches
July 18, 2021
The Cost of Compassion
Mark 6: 30-34 + 53-56
Comedian Jeanne Robertson tells o story of when she lived in a certain community. The tradition was that if there was a tragedy people would make a pound cake and send it to the individuals affected. She sent her husband to the store with a list but she numbered the items in the list. Her husband – not wanting to make a mistake bought exactly what the list said. So he purchased 1 bag of sugar; 2 dozen eggs; 3pounds of butter etc. The clerk knew the symbolism of the pound cake but when the husband put 7 bags of flour on the checkout the clerk responded “Oh dear, was there an epidemic I missed?”
I am sure that there has been many donations to the situation in Barrie but I am not sure if anyone received a pound cake.
It is a wonderful thing to be compassionate but have you ever been in a situation where you felt that your generosity was being over used? Like when you fix a lawnmower and another neighbour says “Oh I didn’t know you knew how to fix those”. You know the next question. Of if someone says “Do you sew?” Again you know where that is leading. OR when the minister says “Wow, I haven’t had a butter tart in a long time” – nevermind.
I am sure that Jesus felt that way in the story of today. He had just finished feeding a crowd numbered at five thousand men, which would likely be about fifteen thousand people in reality. He was exhausted. He set out in the boat to get away from the listeners for a while. When he gets to the other side of the water he is recognized and people start bringing more sick to him by the hundreds. It says they lay their friends by the road side so they might touch his robe. Everyone was healed.
At what point should Jesus have said he was finished? Did he mind this situation? He understood that he had a gift of healing but he also had the job of teaching people about God. He easily could have been distracted into becoming a healer only. He could have made a lot of money and lived happily ever after in some resort – but he didn’t.
His nature was that he loved people and so it was difficult for him to stop but we read that rom time to time he retreated into the wilderness. Most of the time we recognize that he was a great teacher.
He had to learn to balance his compassion. He understood that there is a cost to it and there is.
There is time, money and effort.
Think of the other people who went home and got their friends and brought them to Jesus. There was a lot of time and effort put into carrying your friend several kilometers to get healed. There is even the story of the friends who let their companion down through the roof. They likely spent years paying off the insurance companies.
For any of us there is a cost to compassion. We likely don’t think about it but when we cut the grass for someone, or volunteer at some crisis line, or do some shopping for another person. It costs us.
The challenge becomes understanding how much we are willing to pay. It is more than just an individual content. That question is the fundamental basis behind social decisions. That is the largest question behind our health care system. How much are you willing to pay to help others. How extensive should our system be? What levels of health care should be included? It often reflects where someone works in the health environment. What level of alternative medicine should be included?
However it is not just the health care system. It applies to many levels of social services. There may be questions about how much we should subsidize housing while at the same time we are pretty glad that we have an emergency response crew when tornadoes strike.
When you go through a cashier and they ask you if you would like to donate to some charity or camp, on one hand you wonder why this multi-million dollar company can’t just pay for it themselves and on the other hand your generosity tugs at your pocket.
I had a friend who said that when he went into Toronto to a baseball game he would put ten loonies in his pocket and give them to the first ten people he saw begging. He said it helped ten people but it also helped his conscious.
I was reading a book where the compassion cost was at a much more dramatic level. A man named Manuel Sasquic, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala was murdered for helping the widow of another pastor. That other pastor, by the name of Pascual Serech was murdered for his work in human rights.
I was reading another book where a man was murdered for his compassion. That book was the bible and the man’s name was Jesus.
Caring for others costs us. It may take time or money or effort but it also can challenge us. We may find that the person who we were opposed to helping is actually really in need. We may have some of our stereotypes challenged.
We may also be challenged by others who doubt our motivation. The person who won the 649 needs friends just as badly as anyone.
You may never have thought of social questions being based on your faith, but they are. Everything you do is a reflection of your faith.
How much are you willing to help others and at what cost?
Whenever we spend time, money, effort or even our courage we like to know what are the returns. Jesus understood that question. When we look at all the great religions and all the words of Jesus we realize that helping others gives the greatest return in value for life.
When we help others we find the value of our own lives. If you are feeling worthless or bored, go help someone. If you are searching for the meaning of life, go help someone. If you are questioning the meaning of life, go help someone.
The cost of compassion is worth it.
The more you invest the more you redeem.
Jesus may have been very tired at the end of that day but he was also very satisfied.
God we recognize that compassion is not easy. We follow the example of your Son, Jesus who was willing to give up his life to demonstrate the power of caring. We read the stories of the disciples who followed him and the sacrifices they made. We hear about the people who have given of their own resources to share life with others. We stop short of counting our own moments of expense because we know that the privilege of caring is our highest calling. You have told us that and we have found that out through our actions. Help us to find ways and places where we can spend our compassion.
We pray for those in special need this day:
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil. for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. forever and ever Amen
SERVICE July 18, 2021
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers; Hugh, Marion and Cathy
There is a BBQ at Gilford August 21
Next Saturday the service is being filmed at Gilford at 9:30
Opening Prayer God. As we gather today, help us to feel your presence
in this place, in the companionship of others and in the words we
hear. We join in worshipping you.
Hymn – What a Friend we have in Jesus
Scripture Mark 6: 30-34 + 53-56
Hymn Oh for a World
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
Info about contributing
The traditional way is to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0
An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)
Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks