Evening Reading for May 22

John 11:17-32
Suggested further reading: Matthew 25:31-46

How great a blessing God sometimes bestows on actions of kindness and sympathy!

It seems that the house of Martha and Mary at Bethany was filled with mourners when Jesus arrived. Many of these mourners, no doubt, knew nothing of the inner life of these holy women. Their faith, their hope, their love to Christ, their discipleship were things of which they were wholly ignorant. But they felt for them in their heavy bereavement and kindly came to offer what comfort they could. By so doing they reaped a rich and unexpected reward. They beheld the greatest miracle that Jesus ever wrought. They were eyewitnesses when Lazarus came forth from the tomb. To many of them, we may well believe, that day was a spiritual birth. The raising of Lazarus led to a resurrection in their souls. How small sometimes are the hinges on which eternal life appears to depend! If these people had not sympathized they might never have been saved.

We need not doubt that these things were written for our learning. To show sympathy and kindness to the sorrowful is good for our own souls, whether we know it or not. To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to weep with them that weep, to try to bear one another's burdens and lighten one another's cares — all this will make no atonement for sin and will not take us to heaven. Yet it is healthy employment for our hearts and employment which none ought to despise. Few perhaps are aware that one secret of being miserable is to live only for ourselves and one secret of being happy is to try to make others happy and to do a little good in the world.

The saying of our Lord is too much overlooked: `Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward' (Matt. 10:42).

For meditation: Sympathy is not merely to be a natural virtue. It is to be a Christian grace (1 Cor. 12:26).

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ