TITLE: Compassion 6/22/14
By Richard McCaw
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During the Second World War, after Germany invaded Poland, German entrepreneurs swarmed the cities, snapping up fortified Jewish firms as their Treuhanders or trustees. One of them was a young salesman called Oskar Schindler, born April 28th, 1908, in the Sudenland. He applied for Nazi membership in early 1939. By then he was an agent for the Germans Abwhr, intelligence and soon sought to make his fortune as a war profiteer.
As construction of a new concentration camp began, he was deeply affected when he saw uncooperative, elderly or infirm protestors massacred. Knowing that the Nazis were deporting Jews to death camps, he employed them in his factories. His list of Jews grew longer and longer as he endangered his life to deliver them. He never shared their religious beliefs, nor had any political agenda, but was simply a man God used to deliver others. He spent much of his fortune bribing Nazi officials and thus saved more than one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust
At first, he prepared to leave Krakow with his ill-gotten fortune. However, at the end of the war in Europe, he ran out of money just as the Wehrmacht surrendered. As he bade farewell to his workers they gave him a letter explaining that he was not a criminal to them, together with a gold ring engraved with the words, "He who saves the life of one man, saves the world entire." Touched but deeply ashamed, he wept when he considered how many more lives he could have saved.
At sixteen years of age I also was touched as I considered the many lost lives that probably I could save. I had a driving passion for souls. One Sunday after church, I arrived home dragging my black Rudge bicycle through the front room of our home.
Suddenly, the voice of my crippled mother echoed from her bedroom, “Son, aren’t you going to eat something?” She knew that Sunday afternoons I spent hours visiting Sunday school scholars.
“Mummy, I’ve got to go!” I shouted: “Souls are dying!”
Often, I had seen the disappointment and unhappiness of this world staring out of blank faces. In poor neighborhoods zinc fences entirely surrounded their shabby homes. In others, a mangy dog followed a baby wandering hungry and half-naked in the dirt, a cloth diaper around its waist, a father at the door with a beer bottle in his hand. How did those people manage for food? A group of men often slapped dominoes around a make-shift table, swearing foul language. An harassed woman sometimes could be seen hanging out clothes on a line that stretched from a nail against the wooden wall of a house to a wooden pole in the middle of a yard. From the street gutters the odor of dirty stagnant water sent off a dreadful stench.
At that time I regularly wrote to American tract companies and received hundreds of tracts for distribution. One day as I opened a box of tracts from a Christian brother in Mandeville, Jamaica. I found a slip of paper with the words: “Eighty-three souls die every minute; two are Christians!”
Jesus had asked, “What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” I concluded that a soul is worth more than the entire world.
Jesus’ account of a rich man in Hell pleading for five brothers ‘lest they also come to this place of torment” and thoughts from John R. Rice’s book ‘The Soul Winner’s Fire,” left an indelible impression on my mind and motivated me to go out to win the lost.
I knew that Christ had died to deliver men from the degradation into which all humanity had fallen. His agony in Gethsemane’s garden, His sweat that became great drops of blood falling to the ground, His cry on the cross, “Father, forgive them!” continually motivated me to enter the battlefield. If He could have left heaven to be despised, rejected and finally crucified, to save lost sinners, surely there was something I could do to reach the lost.
I imagined hordes of lost people on the edge of a precipice about to fall into eternal damnation. How could I watch as millions were being swept into a Christless eternity?
Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes. God also placed a burden for them upon my heart. I had once prayed, “Lord, give me a burden for souls!” God had heard that prayer and placed a burning unquenchable passion within my spirit.
My mother often warned, “Richard, mind you go overboard!”
In spite of her warning, I changed out of my Sunday best clothes and hurried to visit Sunday School students on Sunday afternoons. Their terrible conditions touched my heart as I met their parents in some of the slum areas.
Thank God, my passion paid off. Some of those same Sunday school scholars have since become elders, pastors and preachers of the Word, challenging and changing lives in different parts of the world.
The more I studied soul-winning books, the more I realized that most believers worship and listen to wonderful sermons week after week, but continue to do nothing about lost souls outside the church building.
David, the psalmist declared, “He who GOES FORTH weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him,”
As for me, mere church attendance could not satisfy me. I had to lead men to Christ.
Jesus once told his disciples the story of a shepherd who had a hundred sheep, who left ninety-nine in the fold, and searched the mountains for one lost sheep. When he found it, he returned and rejoiced. “I am the Good Shepherd," He said,"Who gives His life for the sheep.” He was touched by our weaknesses, and His compassion reached out to meet our deepest needs.
We too can reach out with compassion to the lost.
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