Fourth, to love the brethren is to have a “tender heart,” from eusplagchnos, which literally means, “good bowels or intestines” (Strong). The bowels include the intestines, liver, and kidney. It connotes the deepest human emotion. If sympathy is having the same feeling, tenderheartedness means entering into a deeper feeling for somebody. To be tenderhearted is to be “affectionate and compassionate” (Louw-Nida) towards somebody. To be compassionate is to feel concern and care for somebody. That is our theme for 2015-2016—“Care for the needy.”
Isn’t that the kind of God we serve? Remember when Jesus arrived in Bethany, knowing that his friend Lazarus was dead for four days already? He said, “Where have you laid him?” They answered, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw his friend lying there, what did Jesus do? It’s the shortest verse in the Bible. John wrote, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). That’s the nature of the God we worship. He is not just sympathetic, entering into our feelings. He is also tender-hearted, compassionate, entering into our deepest feelings. He feels your hurt. He knows your pain. He enters into your deepest emotions. Jesus came down from heaven to earth, to sit where you sit, to know how you feel. That is why we can come to the Father in Jesus’ Name. He knows the pain that we are feeling.
Fifth, to love a brother is to have a “humble mind.” The word is from tapeinophron–a lowly spirit. How can we show a humble mind to each other? Phil. 2:3: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind [tapeinophron]let each esteem others better than himself” (NKJV). To be humble is to give up your pride, and in lowliness of mind, to consider others better than yourself.
Last Friday, we held a training class at Mandaue Christian School. The Senior Pastor of the church did something wonderful. He served us. He served us like a waiter. He asked us what we wanted for lunch. He served us coffee. He gathered our coffee cups, put it on the tray, and carried the tray downstairs. Where can you find a big church where the Senior Pastor serves you? In most big churches, you cannot even shake the hand of the Senior Pastor.
Can I ask you to do something today? Look around for somebody whom you could show sympathy, somebody whom you could share her joy and sorrow. Look for somebody whom you could show love unselfishly. Look for somebody whom you could show compassion, caring, and concern. Look for somebody whom you could show lowliness of mind. Then you will love life and live good days till Jesus comes again!