Moved with compassion

July 15, 2020 · Print This Article

Every now and then, just when I’m not expecting it, I find myself watching a powerful and moving scene on TV. For example, I recently watched a 35-year-old Muslim stumble across some children living in poverty in São Paulo, Brazil. Disturbed by their living conditions, he decided to give them what he could – but he was in a race, where every penny counted. So, he gave away his “luxuries”, including a pack of cards and his water bottle. Emom, with his nephew Jamiul, were taking part in the BBC TV programme Race Across the World; they were racing on a fixed budget and funds were low. Faced with such poverty, he didn’t wait to find out why this had happened or seek to discover what faith they had. He was moved to act out of compassion.

The expression “moved with compassion” reminds me of a story that I’ve known for most of my life. Two thousand years ago, a man called Jesus was concerned about the plight of a large crowd on a hillside far from the nearest town.[1] Jesus was moved to act: the miraculous result was an event now called “the feeding of the 4000.” Now Emom didn’t have such resources to hand. I’m sure he would have treated those children to a banquet, if it had been possible. But he did what he could at the time.

Sometime later, after winning the competition, both Emom and Jamiul ‘put their money where their mouth is.’ They donated half of their winnings, £10,000, to charities helping children in poverty. Given how much they had struggled in order to win the competition, such generosity blows me away.  Their compassion makes me wonder: have I seen so many images of distressed children that I’ve become jaded by them? I know that I can’t solve all of the world’s problems. But am I helping with at least some of them?

Apparently, Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[2] I’ve heard lots of times that giving is actually good for me. It makes me a ‘better’ person, which no doubt is true. Giving allows empathy to take hold in our hearts. So thank you, Emom, for reminding me of that truth. God bless you in all your endeavours.

Ian Woodley

[1] The Bible, Matthew chapter 15 verse 32.
[2] The Bible, The Acts of the Apostles chapter 20 verse 35.
Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi on Unsplash
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