“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.” Proverbs 24:11
Several British clergymen visited Dwight L. Moody during one of his evangelistic tours in London. They wondered why this poorly educated American was so effective in winning throngs of people to Christ. Moody took the men to the window of his hotel room and asked what they saw. One by one, the men described the people in the park below. “What do you see, Mr. Moody?” one of them asked. Looking out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks Moody replied, “I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in Hell if they do not find the Savior.”
Moody saw people differently than the average observer does. And because he saw eternal souls where others saw only people strolling in a park, he approached life with a different agenda. Moody’s deep compassion for the lost is something he had in common with Jesus. Matthew 9:36 tell us, “Seeing the people, [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” As Christ’s followers, how can we cultivate compassion for people who do not know Him?
First, through intercessory prayer. Praying for lost people gives us greater sensitivity to their spiritual needs. As we intercede for specific people God gives us spiritual eyes for all people. And when we truly see them as God does, our hearts fill with godly compassion.
We also cultivate compassion for the lost by investing in them. For instance, you can invite someone to church and to lunch afterwards. Yes, it’s old school, but research tells us that an overwhelming majority would attend church if they were simply invited. Other opportunities to share the Gospel might start by offering to help a neighbor around their house or watching their children for a date night.
Millions are staggering to an eternity that will be filled with sorrow and regret. But if we don’t see people at risk, then we won’t do anything to rescue them. And if we don’t cultivate compassion for the lost, our hearts will eventually harden and our eyes will grow blind to humanity’s greatest threat—eternity in Hell. Telling the world about Jesus is every believer’s responsibility. It’s an act of love and compassion. So, pray, invite, and invest. And start today!