Today's daily devotion

A Gift, Not a Virtue

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.—MATTHEW 7:7 (KJV)

My wife Debra is a Presbyterian minister known for her cheerful giving, the joy she takes in serving others. I’m a writer—known for obsessive attachment to my work, and vanity about my image.

Debra often said her worst fear was a situation where she would have to depend on me to take care of her. This hurt my pride. So when she was diagnosed with Stage III cancer, and faced a long ordeal of chemotherapy and surgery, I decided to prove her wrong. I dedicated my life to her, and she was first in my mind as we began the battle. I sat with her, prayed with her, cooked for her, helped around the house.

I kept it up for about a month. But then as the chemo began to work and the tumor shrank, my attention slid back toward my own projects and concerns. She felt it, and I could tell. My limited store of compassion was used up; I was running on empty.

So I talked with a friend. And I prayed to the Lord.

And something happened. Suddenly or gradually—I don’t know how—the void of my compassion became a reservoir for a greater power. God’s mercy fell on me, offering all the things I lacked—patience, perseverance, steadfast love.

Compassion is not one of my virtues. It is a gift from God. When God opened my heart, it was there—as it is, and always will be.

Lord, open my heart to receive and send forth your gift of compassion.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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