The life and ministry of Jesus were characterized by compassion. The biblical record of His miracles occasionally mentions that fact, and one might say His incarnation occurred because of His compassion. A disciple of Christ is supposed to have and demonstrate compassion for effective ministry in Christ’s name. This is especially true when it comes to missions. If there is no trace of compassion in a person who speaks about Christ, his words, no matter how eloquent, will fall on deaf ears.
The reaction of David to the deaths of Saul and Jonathan exhibits to all the kind of heart that God can use to reach others. There are two great qualities evident in David’s lament that any who would seek to be used by God must have. The first quality is the ability to grieve over death. At the very core of evangelism is the desire to see people saved., knowing that it must occur before death comes. If a person hears a number of people who die daily and is not concerned over their eternal destiny, appropriate compassion is lacking for effective evangelism.
The death of others, especially of those who enter eternity apart from Christ and who have no further opportunity to exercise saving faith, should touch the servant of God. Knowing that the need for salvation is so great among the people of the world and having the ability to mourn for lost lives are qualities that will help make a good missionary.
A second positive characteristic David displayed that God’s ministers must also have is the ability to see the worth of people to see it even in those who may turn out the be hostile to us and to our message. For the most part, people are not just waiting around for someone to come to them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The many false and idolatrous religions in the world often react belligerently toward anyone who would seek to convert their adherents.
Some people are proud of their own ethnic background and may tend to look down on others as being of lesser value. Such individuals do not make good missionaries because they do not see souls worth saving in others.
Not only David had the above traits; so too will those who have a heart “after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14). Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus, but He also wept over the hardiness of heart of those who were against Him (Luke 19:41). He wept because He knew the horrors that lay ahead for the unsaved.
Jesus also saw the worth of others. He reached out to both Jews and Gentiles; to men, women, and children; to prostitutes, tax collectors, and Pharisees. He even reached out to Judas. The Bible reveals that in heaven saints from every tribe and nation will worship before the throne of God. How will they get there unless someone goes to them with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Those that would go to reach them must have the ability to weep over the death of people as well as the ability to see others as God sees them. They must see others as those for whom Christ died.