7. Compassionate

  1. Being a Christian in work is being compassionate. Following Jesus Christ in our work means being compassionate because Jesus looked after people in need. Jesus is compassionate; He did various works of compassion;253 He bestows compassion upon us.254 Jesus calls us to be compassionate because God is compassionate.255 By showing compassion, we become the means by which God provides to the needy.256 Compassion touches the core of our being, our heart. From the Holy Spirit we receive the heart, wisdom, and strength to work compassionately.
  2. Working compassionately is evident in what we do for those who cannot reciprocate, in the help we offer to those who have nothing to offer back to us, and in the time, money, and attention we devote on those who can give us nothing.257 What we do in our work for the most unimportant, insignificant, and powerless person is what we do for God.258
  3. Working compassionately means caring for the weak, the lowest, the vulnerable, the marginalized, disadvantaged, underprivileged, and the oppressed.259 In our work, we must take care of the poor, the undernourished and underdressed, the homeless, the sick, those with physical or mental disability, the mentally weak, the uneducated, the work-disabled, the unemployed, immigrants, foreigners, refugees, starters, pensioners, the dead, the bereaved, widows, orphans, the unborn, the children, future generations, animals, and many other groups. Jesus championed the weak and vulnerable, so why should we always choose the strong and the resilient in our work?260
  4. Working compassionately means going to extremes to help others.261 After all, Jesus also went to great lengths to help us.
  5. Working compassionately means alleviating the needs around us. If Jesus were working in our place today, wouldn’t He be committed to fighting hunger, poverty, inequality, for a cleaner environment, better quality education, and better access to health care? Would He not then fight for better working conditions and employment benefits in many countries, for the eradication of corruption and fraud, and for the curbing of consumerism and materialism?
  6. Working compassionately means involving in the workforce people who have difficulty accessing the labor market. Just as God tries to embrace every human being, so should employers include people who, because of a handicap, disability, or disadvantage, have difficulty entering the labor market. After all, such people are fully part of the human community and therefore may and could contribute to that community.
  7. Working compassionately means being sympathetic to needy people we encounter in our work. We cannot show compassion if we remain unmoved by the needs of others. If the suffering of others does not touch us, then we cannot show compassion. If we love God, then we sympathize with the one whom God loves and whose life is not going well; that is, every disadvantaged person in our work environment.
  8. Working compassionately means carrying each other’s burdens.262 We are willing to take over somebody else’s difficult work, to relieve and support them. Jesus also carried our burdens.
  9. Working compassionately means being generous. Doing paid work allows us to give up some of our income for the needy and less fortunate. Giving up asks nothing of us if we realize that all our resources have been given by God. Thus, giving up some money or goods is not giving away but passing them on to another.263 Generosity is not a free option for us; it is part of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Generosity is not giving what we have left over but giving what we have received first. By giving to God first, we acknowledge that God is the owner of everything that we have.264
  10. Working compassionately means giving amply from the fruits of our labor.265 God makes our work fruitful, so it is appropriate that we offer the fruits of our labor to God. God disapproves of miserliness and avarice because we are then keeping the benefits of our talents to ourselves when those talents came from God. Besides, God is not stingy. He is generous, affluent, and munificent.266 He gives us much without our deserving it. He even gives us that which is dearest to Him: His Own Son. Jesus, in turn, gave the best He could give: His life.

  1. Matthew 9:36, Matthew 12:18-21, Mark 1:40-41, Mark 8:1-3
  2. Jude 1:21
  3. Exodus 34:6, Psalm 68:6, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:14, Psalm 147:3, Matthew 5:7, Luke 6:36, Luke 10:29-37, 2 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Peter 3:8
  4. Romans 9:15
  5. 1 John 3:16-17
  1. Matthew 25:40, Matthew 25:45
  2. Deuteronomy 15:7-11, Isaiah 58:7-10, James 1:27
  3. Ephesians 4:32, James 2:13
  4. Matthew 5:38-41
  5. Romans 15:1, Galatians 6:2
  6. Leviticus 23:22, Corinthians 9:11
  1. Numbers 18:13
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:58
  3. Deuteronomy 28:11, John 10:10, Romans 8:32, Ephesians 3:20-21


  1. Which Bible verse about compassion do I find particularly appealing and provides guidance for what working compassionately means (to me)?
  2. To what extent do I agree with the above summary of what working compassionately means?
  3. Are there any missing elements in the above list of what working compassionately means? If so, which ones?
  4. How would I personally describe what working compassionately means for Christians?
  5. How would I describe concretely what working compassionately means for me?
  6. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that compassion is an important characteristic/virtue for Christians in their work?
  7. To what extent do I subscribe to the idea that compassion is an important guideline/principle for the behavior of Christians in their work?
  8. To what extent is compassion an important virtue and principle for me in my work?
  9. How do I experience the importance of compassion in my work?
  10. Do I work to bring about compassion? Do I do so wholeheartedly?
  11. To what extent can I work compassionately in my work?
  12. How often have I recently brought compassion to my work?
  13. How compassionately do I do my work? How does it show?
  14. To what extent do I use compassion as a principle for my behavior in my work? Could I illustrate this using the decisions I have recently made in my work?
  15. When I look back at my working life, could I say that I have increasingly become more compassionate in my behavior?
  16. To what extent do people I work with think I act compassionately in my work? What have they said to me about this?
  17. To what extent do I think God thinks I act compassionately in my work?
  18. How can I become and act more compassionately in my work? How would I do this concretely?
  19. Which elements of working compassionately am I going to bring more of in my next working day?
  20. What am I going to say in a prayer to God about working compassionately?
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