In the world of Bible teaching and Bible study, there are different styles among preachers, pastors, and teachers. My common style is “life application,” which means I take Scripture as it was written and make an applicable comparison with today’s world so that we can apply Scripture to our lives. A professor from Houston Baptist University taught me, “You must know what Scripture meant then in order to know what it means now.” Your more fundamental preachers, pastors and teachers often frown upon this practice preferring an expository style. Expository preachers believe the Bible means exactly what it says and you should not take culture, timing, and history into consideration when relaying God’s message.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. I simply know that most of us have a preference and some of us try to use a combination of both. I may preach verse by verse beautifully, but if you do not understand the intent of the Scripture or how to apply it to your own situation I’ve most likely lost you. (Which explains why a lot of people either drop out of church or visit a certain church only one time?)
In my life application style, I try to draw similarities between my experiences in order to show a Christian comparison. At times, when I do so, I receive complaints that I focus too much on myself OR I am arrogant and prideful. I’ve prayed about this after some pretty heated notes and emails regarding my blog. I’ve decide that, just like the church visitor who makes a decision never to return to a particular church, you aren’t forced to read my blog. If you see me as self-centered and/or prideful, I apologize for relaying my message incorrectly. I am simply trying to make Scripture applicable.
When I was in 5th grade, I was chosen to be a mentor to severely disabled children. Prior to and during my childhood years there were children born with severe disabilities due to unsafe drugs being used during pregnancy. Doctors felt the drugs were safe, but children were born with no arms, malformed legs, deaf and/or blind due to the side effects of certain drugs. Two or three of us were incorporated one hour a day with the severely handicapped children. “Normal” kids were taken into a large room and allowed to play with the disabled children. Personally, I loved it.
Those of us chosen didn’t seem to focus on what the other children were missing. We didn’t tag them as “abnormal” or “disabled.” We saw them as children needing a friend and a playmate. As I look back, I am honored that my teachers saw something in me that would cause them to select me as part of this tremendous outreach of compassion and mercy.
When one of my sons was entering elementary school, we were told that he could be classified as “gifted and talented.” The school district referred to these kids as “the GT kids.” I guess my compassion and mercy kicked in again because I didn’t want my children separated from struggling kids. I wanted them to help others. Amazingly, one of our sons was selected to partner with a special needs child serving as a classroom tutor. Could it be that compassion is hereditary or is it simply taught?
The same son interviewed for his first real job in public service. During the interview he was asked what interested him in a particular line of work. My son answered that his entire family was service-minded. His dad has an extensive resume serving in the fire protection service and his mother has worked for non-profit, human services organizations for most of her career. My eyes still tear up as I recognize our family’s belief that other people matter and we must all pitch in to make the world a better place. Every one of us has chosen service vocations. So, again, is compassion hereditary or is it taught?
I realize some of you are reading this thinking, “There she goes again. Tooting her own horn.” I’m sorry if you see it that way but that isn’t my point. Here is my point: Our world is severely lacking in compassionate mercy. If we aren’t getting it in our genes, perhaps we need to learn it and teach it to others? What do you think?
1 John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
*The artwork entitled, “Mercy Says Hello,” is copyrighted along with this blogsite.