The Spiritual Gift of Mercy Defined
to be sensitive toward those who are suffering, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, so as to feel genuine sympathy with their misery, speaking words of compassion but more caring for them with deeds of love to help alleviate their distress
Servant #1: He was a teenager, one with ADHD. He would often find himself in trouble at school and at church. He could be self-absorbed, self-gratifying, and lacking in self-control. Yet, when he saw someone in need, his heart went out to them and he wanted to do something to help.
Servant #2: In her eighties, she would visit people in nursing homes. “Those poor old souls,” you could hear her say, as she pondered the conditions some of them were experiencing. Her heart ached over their loneliness and losses and she wanted to be there to comfort them and let them know that someone cared.
Both of these servants were in a stage of life that presented their own needs, yet when they saw others in need were able to step outside of themselves with the compassion of Christ. These individuals were years apart, yet both served the Lord. Gifts are not age specific. Nor are they held back from those with special needs or disabilities. When it comes to having or using spiritual gifts, the issue is if you know the Lord.
Lesson to be learned:
Let’s provide opportunity for all to serve. Children and teens who know the Lord have much to offer right now. They are members of the church of today, not merely the church of tomorrow. We should come alongside of them, mentoring and discipling them to use their gifts. Our senior citizens should not be shelved simply because they are old. They have much to offer. The psalmist wrote “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:18). Proverbs 16:31 adds, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor.” And, people with special needs often teach us and minister in our lives so much more than we might imagine. Particularly when it comes to spiritual gifts, why wouldn’t we expect God to use believers with special needs? Do we really get that a spiritual gift is a “divine empwerment bestowed on each believer”?