Ministering to Children With Compassion

When Jesus ministered to others, the Bible often points out that He did so out of compassion. Compassion is defined as a deep, mixed passion compounded of love and sorrow. It is a sorrow to see people hurting and living outside of God's covenant, mixed with an unconditional love to help them overcome. When people were hurting, sick or needed provision, compassion moved Jesus into action (See Matthew 14:14, Matthew 15:32 & Mark 1:41 for examples). Likewise, as Christians and Ministry Leaders, we must allow that same compassion that swelled within Jesus' heart move us to help others, especially children.

The devil is a big bully and likes to pick on those who are physically & spiritually weak. Children are his #1 target. So God needs people, who are willing to be moved with compassion like Jesus, to help His children overcome the enemy's devices. Let's look at a few things that will help you minister to children with compassion.

  1. Look beyond a child's behavior. Too often children are cast aside or even avoided because they have displayed consistent, unruly behavior. You've seen the child in the grocery store screaming at that top of their lungs, kicking their parent and demanding their way as onlookers shake their heads in disbelief. Or the child who is always crying for no apparent reason as soon as they hit the Children's Church check-in table. You know it's going to take a lot of energy, as always, to minister to them. We've all just shook our heads at one time or another and simply said, "That's pitiful." God needs us to move beyond just being grieved or sorrowful at the behavior and moved with compassion to help them.

    Jesus demonstrated a wonderful example of looking beyond a child's behavior in Mark 9:14-29. In this passage, a father brings his son to Jesus' disciples because he is possessed by a demon. The disciples tried to help him but couldn't. The devil showed out through the boy right in front of Jesus, but Jesus wasn't phased. He got to the root of the problem, cast the devil out and set that child free. Jesus didn't just shake His head and say, "That child is just too bad. He can't come to me with all that going on." Jesus loved the child and did not allow the boy's behavior to distract Him from what really mattered, the child's life.

    If Jesus can look beyond a child's behavior, who was possessed by the devil, surely we can look beyond a child's behavior and allow God's compassion to work through us to minister to them.

  2. Be sensitive to God's guidance. Using the same passage above, the disciples wondered why they couldn't help the boy. Jesus told them that the devil could only be driven out of this situation as a result of prayer & fasting. This means that Jesus had to be prepared ahead of time in order to help this child because we don't see Him stop right then and fast & pray. Jesus spent consistent time communing with the Father. Jesus tells us in John 5:19, 30 and John 8:28 that He only said what the Father told Him, did what He saw the Father do and only what the Father taught Him. This means the Father told Jesus what the root of the boy's problem was and how to help him. As a result of Jesus' lifestyle of obedience & surrender, He was able to help that child on the spot.

    Likewise, when we make time to continuously fellowship with God and allow Him to speak to us, He will tell us exactly how to minister to children out of a heart of compassion. We must be sensitive to His guidance and help His children whenever He needs us.

  3. Believe that a child's situation is never too far gone. In Mark 5:21-42, we read the account of a father, Jairus, who sought Jesus' help for his ailing daughter. As Jesus was on his way to help Jairus's daughter, people came from his house to inform him that there was no need to seek further help from Jesus, his child had died. This situation was beyond help right? WRONG!! Jesus did not tell Jairus, "I'm really sorry about your daughter, but there's nothing I can do now." He did not shake His head and say, "Wow, I wish I could do something for him." Jesus gave Jairus specific instructions, "Be not afraid, only believe." (John 5:36) As long as Jairus was willing to believe and fear not, Jesus was able to turn that child's situation around! Thank God Jairus kept his faith turned on and refused to fear. He saw Jesus raise his daughter back to life! No matter how grave a child's condition may be, God can still turn it around. Whether it's a physical condition, a child's behavior, or a child's family situation, it is never too bad or too late or too far gone. Don't be afraid to step out in faith to help a child. Allow God's compassion to move you to action.

During these last days before Jesus' glorious return, you will encounter children who will need God's help. They may have been given up on by others, they may be beyond a doctor's help or their parents may not know what to do. Remember that you can minister to them effectively and help them just like Jesus. He said in John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." Just as Jesus was moved with compassion and able to rescue children from the snares of the devil, you can do the same using His Name and His power! Allow God's compassion to flood your heart for His children and move you to action on their behalf.

This article is written by Minister Kila Jones

Children’s Minister for Word of Faith