Sacrifice and Generosity in Compassion

Living in the Image of God M02S04

Compassion entails sacrifice and generosity. Sacrifice is the value of goods and service that a person denies self to alleviate another’s need. Generosity implies a person’s effort in compassion is voluntary, constrained only by his or her ability to address the need, and motivated only by a desire to convey God’s love and care to the needy.


This bible study seeks to expand our understanding of compassion through a discussion of the role of sacrifice and generosity in providing goods or service to alleviate another person’s suffering. Compassion entails sacrifice, which means that a person will deny himself or herself something of value in responding to alleviate the need of another. Furthermore, compassion entails generosity, which means that a person’s effort in a call to compassion has to be voluntary, constrained only by his or her ability to address the need, and motivated only by a desire to convey God’s love and care to the person in need.

We discuss an example from David and one from Ruth to understand the nature of sacrifice in compassion. Also, we discuss from Paul’s message to the Corinthians to understand the implications of generosity in compassion.

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Call to Compassion Example—Good Samaritan

Living in the Image of God M02S03

The parable of the Good Samaritan provides an example of a call to compassion and explains that such a call presents opportunity to recognize a neighbor and demonstrate love of neighbor: care about the neighbor in need, commit to providing goods or service to address the need, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. God uses such interactions to direct human service to points of need and fulfill his purpose for provider-receiver relationships among people.

Living in the Image of God Module 02 Session 03 (7:58)

The parable of the Good Samaritan explains potential human behavior in a call to compassion. Potential response to such a call could consist of outright refusal, thus declining the responsibilities; or accepting the call and completing the responsibilities. Furthermore, the parable uses the events of a call to compassion to define love, neighbor, and “love your neighbor” in the context of recognizing another person’s need and accepting and completing responsibility to alleviate the need. Also, the parable defines need and needy in relation to a call to compassion.

We discuss the parable of the Good Samaritan and the explanations of human behavior provided in the parable to further understand what God expects from a person he calls to provide goods or service to alleviate the need of another.

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Responsibility in Call to Compassion

Living in the Image of God M02S02

The parable of the Sheep and the Goats explains human responsibility in a Call to Compassion and describes God’s judgment regarding performance of the responsibility. He assigns every person to one of two categories based on completing or declining such responsibility. He judges favorably a person that completes and unfavorably those that decline. A person earns blessing for completion or incurs punishment for declining.

Living in the Image of God Module 02 Session 02 (9:36)

In a Call to Compassion, God directs a person’s attention to the need of others and expects the call recipient to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing a solution, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. Christ provides formal teaching in two parables to explain what God expects from us in a Call to Compassion. The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35) uses an example to explain human behavior in a Call to Compassion. Furthermore, the parable of The Sheep and the Goats explains human responsibility in a Call to Compassion and describes God’s judgment regarding performance of the responsibility. God judges a person favorably for completing his or her responsibility in a call to compassion or unfavorably for declining.

We discuss the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in this bible study and the parable of the Good Samaritan in a future study to expand our understanding of human responsibilities in a call to compassion.

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Understanding Compassion

Living in the Image of God M02S01

In a call to compassion, God directs a person to earn blessing by providing goods or service to benefit others in need. Recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to doing what you can, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. You will earn blessing for completing the responsibilities or incur punishment for declining. The beneficiary also has a responsibility: appreciation.

Living in the Image of God Module 02 Session 01 (7:08)

We begin a bible study series on Compassion—the second module of the Living in the Image of God program. Recall (from Human Responsibilities in Living in the Image of God) that compassion is one of four cardinal human responsibilities of Living in the Image of God. Each study in the series will be presented in a short description, a ten-minute video, and a downloadable discussion guide with notes.

Our understanding of compassion is based on Christ teaching in the Beatitudes and in parables. Also, we find the dictionary definition of compassion quite consistent with Christ teaching. Therefore, we examine the dictionary definition along with the bible information. We describe as call to compassion a situation whereby God alerts a person to a need, thereby inviting the person to provide goods or service to benefit others in need. We see that a call to compassion actually is an invitation to earn blessing. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31–46) conveys an understanding that God judges a person favorably for completing responsibilities in a call to compassion or unfavorably for declining the call. That is, the call recipient does not have any option for a neutral response (see more in Call to Compassion: Parable of the Sheep and the Goats).

Also, as we discuss in a previous study under Created in the Image of God, we understand compassion in the context of a conceptual human interactions network that God establishes for distributing human service to points of need. Every person is potentially a provider of goods and service needed by others and receiver of goods and service provided by others. Both the provider (i.e., call recipient in a call to compassion) and receiver (i.e., beneficiary in a call to compassion) have responsibilities. The provider responsibility is to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to doing what he or she can, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. The receiver responsibility is to receive the provided goods or service with appreciation. We discuss the provider and receiver responsibilities in this and subsequent studies in the series.

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Benefits of Living in the Image of God

Living in the Image of God M01S06

Building faith by Living in the Image of God arises from commitment to God’s purpose and recognizing that your every task or battle belongs to God and he will guide you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals. Furthermore, “Living in the Image of God” makes you a beneficiary of God’s promise of blessing proclaimed in the Beatitudes and illustrated in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Every blessing you earn is yours to keep until fulfilled.

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 06 (6:46)

Living in the Image of God begins with commitment to God’s purpose and living according to the commitment. A person builds and strengthens faith by Living in the Image of God—based on recognizing that every task or battle belongs to God and he will guide you to complete his tasks and accomplish his goals. Furthermore, in the Beatitudes, Christ proclaims God’s promise of blessing for every person that commits to the responsibilities of representing God in human interactions: through humility toward others, compassion, motivation for righteousness based on commitment to God’s purpose, and acceptance of individual responsibility for peace and righteousness irrespective of what others do or fail to do. Also, Christ describes the blessing further in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, using compassion as an example for Living in the Image of God.

Thus, faith building is the primary benefit of Living in the Image of God. The other benefit is the promise of blessing proclaimed in the Beatitudes (see Resources for Living in the Image of God and Human Responsibilities in Living in the Image of God) and illustrated in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (see Call to Compassion—Parable of the Sheep and the Goats). We discuss Living in the Image of God as a basis for faith to make a case that a person builds faith of God by committing to God’s purpose and living accordingly.

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Salt of the Earth

Living in the Image of God M01S05

The “salt of the earth” teaching conveys a message that God creates every person with an intrinsic capability to represent his presence and radiate his impact in human interactions. This capability represents the human value of a person before God, which he expects to be evident in interactions with others: to enhance and preserve the goodness of people, like salt enhances and preserves the goodness of food. Let your Godliness be evident to others and motivate them to appreciate God and seek to interact the same way with other people.

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 05 (6m 11s)

In the “salt of the earth” teaching (Matthew 5:13–16), Christ explains the role of a person in human interactions and conveys a message that God creates every person with an intrinsic capability to represent him in interactions with others. Godliness, i.e., the capability to convey the presence of God and radiate his impact in human interactions, is intrinsic to a person as saltiness is intrinsic to salt. Furthermore, every person can implement the capability by harnessing resources that God has provided to guide us in interactions with others. A person’s human value before God arises from the intrinsic capability to represent God in human interactions. Godliness is the intrinsic value of a person in human interactions as saltiness is the intrinsic value of salt in food.

We discuss the “salt of the earth” teaching to understand God’s purpose for every person to make positive impact in human interactions and motivate others to do the same.

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Human Responsibilities in Living in the Image of God

Living in the Image of God M01S04

The second part of the Beatitudes (third through eighth) identifies four cardinal responsibilities of Living in the Image of God: Humility toward others, compassion (care for others and sensitivity to the needs of others), motivation for righteousness based on commitment to God’s purpose, and individual responsibility for peace and righteousness. The Beatitudes proclaim God’s promise of blessing for a person that commits to these responsibilities and lives according to the commitment.

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 04 (8m 17s)

In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, referred to as the Beatitudes, Christ proclaims God’s promise of blessing for every person that performs his/her responsibilities of representing God in interactions with others. As we discuss under Resources for Living in the Image of God, the first three Beatitudes describe resources that God provides to guide us whereas the last six (i.e., Beatitudes 3–8) describe the human responsibilities. There are four cardinal responsibilities.

  1. Beatitude 3: Humility toward others.
  2. Beatitudes 4 and 5: Compassion (i.e., care for others and sensitivity to the needs of others).
  3. Beatitude 6: Motivation for righteousness based on commitment to God’s purpose.
  4. Beatitudes 7 and 8: Individual responsibility for peace and righteousness.

We discuss each of the cardinal responsibilities briefly in this bible study and provide more detailed discussion in future studies.

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Resources for Living in the Image of God

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 03

The Beatitudes describe the responsibility of every person to represent God in interactions with others and resources to empower a person to perform the responsibility. The first three Beatitudes explain how to access the resources: commit to God’s purpose of representing him in human interactions; recognize and accept total dependence on him; seek him in recognition of total dependence; and humble yourself before him that he may provide, guide, and direct your human capabilities to accomplish tasks that he assigns to you. The Holy Spirit will lead you to receive and follow God’s guidance and direction every time in every situation.

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 03 (5m 28s)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ explains every person’s responsibility to represent God in interactions with others. The first part of the sermon, referred to as the Beatitudes, describes the responsibility, God’s promise of blessing for those that perform the responsibility, and resources that he provides to empower every person to perform the responsibility. The first three Beatitudes describe how to access the resources (more detail under Following God Schedule by Living in His Image 2of2). The last six (i.e., Beatitudes 3–8) describe the responsibility in terms of God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships. This bible study focusses on accessing the resources.

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Created in the Image of God

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 02

God creates every person to represent him among others. He establishes provider-receiver relationships among people, whereby every person is potentially a provider of goods and service needed by others and receiver of goods and service provided by others. He expects every person to keep “the way of the Lord” so that he will fulfill his promise. Keeping “the way of the Lord” means “Living in the image of God.”

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 02

In this bible study session, we discuss God’s declaration of his purpose for people to understand the implications of being “created in the image of God.” Further, we discuss his explanation of the purpose in a statement to angels regarding Abraham. The information leads to an understanding that God creates every person to represent him among others: to be to other people what God would be to them if he was human like them.

He establishes a network of provider-receiver relationships around every person, which defines human responsibility to others and benefits through others. Every person is potentially a provider of goods and service needed by others and receiver of goods and service provided by others. Thus, the concept of a provider-receiver network around every person enables an understanding of human responsibilities and benefits in God’s distribution of human service to the points of need. The network is dynamic: God can insert people into a network or withdraw people from the network at any time.

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Human Interaction with God

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 01

God creates every person as channel for his interactions with others. He can interact with a person directly but often chooses to channel his interaction through other people. We discuss Peter-Cornelius meeting to draw examples of direct interaction with God and the Parable of the Good Samaritan as an illustration of God directing human assistance through another person to a person in need. He creates every person with opportunities and capabilities to function as his representative among other people, will call a person to represent him at a point of need, and another person if a call recipient declines.

Living in the Image of God Module 01 Session 01

God can interact directly with a person: through a vision, through the Holy Spirit, or through other manifestations of his presence. Also, he can and often interacts with a person indirectly through other people. He chooses any person as channel for his interactions with others. He often offers the opportunity to a person by placing a need in his/her path. If the person declines, like the priest and Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, God offers the opportunity to another person he chooses. We discuss examples from Peter-Cornelius interactions where God shows he has several options to interact directly with a person. Furthermore, we discuss the Parable of the Good Samaritan as an illustration of God choosing a person to care for another person on his behalf.

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