How leaders can grow in the skill to care for the weak

Leader would do well to remember that wise shepherds patiently lead the flock at the pace of the youngest lamb, or the frail and old. 

Look at this insightful and practical video by Danelle Esterhuizen on how to lead by caring for the weak.


Luke 4:16

And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17  And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21  And he said to them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Observation and reflection questions

Context: This text records the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, straight after John Baptised him and witnessed how the Holy Spirit descended on him, and Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by Satan.

  1. Why was Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit, according to this text?  What does this suggest about the motive for God’s empowerment of the leader today?
  2. In your own words describe the ministry of Jesus phrase by phrase (verses 18-19a)

Personal reflections and applications

Our God is the God of “the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner” – he identifies with and is drawn to the vulnerable.  He sets laws to protect them and sends leaders to take care of them, and sent leaders and ultimately his Son Jesus to care for those who are frail, oppressed and marginalized. 

  1. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to care for the frail and marginalized.
    1. Do you feel empowered to do that?
    2. In which way do you do that in your fellowship group?
    3. Do you have patience and compassion for the frail and marginalized?

Pray about your attitude and confidence in the care for the frail and marginalized you associate with by name.

  1. Consider people whom you fellowship with or lead.
    1. List two potential leaders in your group; what do they need to grow in next? How can you help with that?
    2. List the two less likely candidates for leadership in your group. Why would you think that? How can you help them?
    3. Who in your group would most benefit from “heling the broken-hearted”? What can you do to help with that?
    4. Who in your group would most benefit most from “setting the captives free”? What can you do to help with that?

Reflect and pray about the care for the care for the frail and marginalized you associate with by name.

How leaders can grow in pastoral grace

Leadership is all about care for the well-being of others expressed through acts of selflessness and kindness to better the state of those in their care.

In this short inspirational video Andre Kruger shares on how leaders can increase the pastoral anointing in their lives. For more on his teachings and obtain a copy of his book Increasing Heaven’s Flow in 40 days go to


Matthew 25:31-40

31  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

37  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Observations and reflections

  1. What will Jesus honor the righteous for doing when he returns? List and describe what the Lord specifies in this text. (verses 37-40)
  2. How does our Lord view caring deeds of love for people in need in this earth? (verse 40)
  3. Why do you think the Lord views these loving deeds to needy people in such a way?
  4. Carefully read verse 40 again. How many deeds of love does one need to do before the Lord recognizes and rewards one when he returns? And what does that suggest about the value the places on one person in need?

Personal reflection and application

The Lord loves and values each individual and therefore deeply identifies with the lack, pain and suffering of every person he created.  Therefore the Lord rewards every deed of kindness from compassion shown to each individual person, as if it is shown to him in person.

  1. List three acts of kindness you have recently shown to people in need – especially those close to you.  Our Text today promises that the Lord will remember these acts of sincere kindness; how does this truth make you feel?
  2. To grow in pastoral grace one simply shows compassion and kindness to people who cross your path, motivated by the truth that the Lord loves that person as he loves you. Consider the following Scripture:

Galatians 6:10 “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

  • In which ways can you “do good” today – especially those close to you? List 10 practical examples.
  • Whom do you know that is sick in bed, alone or feeling down?  What can you do to show care and love for them?
  • Whom within your family and Christian fellowship can you show kindness today?
  • Whom in your every life can you show kindness today?
  • Memorize this Scripture, and mediate on it all day long as you look for opportunities to show the loving care and kindness of our Lord to those you relate to. Pray that the Lord will grace you to show his compassion, kindness and patience so you may represent him well.

The Character of a leader: how to grow in compassion

‘Compassionate people are geniuses in the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security and joy of humanity than the discoverers of knowledge’ – Albert Einstein
Look at this short inspirational video about how leaders can – and should – grow in compassion (


Luke 7:36-47

36  One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37  And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38  and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39  Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40  And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41  “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43  Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44  Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Give brief answers to better understand the universal lesson in this account:
    • What were the Pharisees known for? And can you see it displayed in this story?
    • How is this woman described in this account?
  2. Picture the scene where Jesus and the other guests reclined next to the table for dinner, then this woman came in sobbing, washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying it with her long black hair, and finally rubbing it with fragrant perfume.
    • Why did she cry? Why would she make such a public scene (knowing she is not welcome in this “righteous Pharisee’s” house!)? Why did she pour expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet?
    • What bothered the Pharisees about this scene? Why were they troubled’ by Jesus (lack of) response?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her presence?
    • Why was Jesus not bothered by her display of affection?
    • What as Jesus’ response to Simon [and the other pharsisees?] [hint: note the emphasis in the initial phrase “do you see this woman”].
    • What was Jesus response to her?

Personal reflection and Application

Where the Pharisees saw an immoral sinner, an uninvited prostitute coming to disrupt their holy gathering, Jesus saw a repentant, broken worshipper.  Jesus looked not at her past or her clothing or lifestyle – he intently looked at her, until compassion welled up and mercy flowed from his heart.  And that’s how we grow in compassion – by intently into the eyes of someone until we can see how similar we are.

  1. Recall one or two instances in your life where you received compassion and mercy from someone in your time of need.
    • How did compassion happen?
    • How did compassion make you feel?
    • How did you respond to the compassion?
    • How did that instance of compassion affect your life?
  2. Memorize this phrase from Psalm 86:15 You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion; you are gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Keep this phrase in your mouth and heart today as you interact with every person today – see where compassion can well up in your heart and kindness can be sown.


Pray that God open your eyes to see how he sees people, and for his compassion to flood you heart.



The Character of a leader: Compassion

“Love is not a feeling – it’s an act of the will.” Or is it?

Allow this short introductory video to give you a wider scope to the importance of compassion in the leader’s character before we reflect on today’s Scripture reading (


Matthew 9:35-10:1

35  And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  10:1  And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Reflect on the text by answering the following questions briefly:
    • What is the context of this text? I.e. what was Jesus busy with at the offset of this text? (verse 35)
    • What did Jesus notice during his itinerant ministry? Say this in everyday language. (verse 36)
    • What did this observation caused Jesus to feel? (verse 36)
    • How did Jesus respond to his disciples? (verse 37-38)
    • How did Jesus respond to the need? (10:1)
  2. What then was Jesus’ motive for the instruction and commissioning of his disciples?
  3. As you reflect on the text try to visualize the events. How and why was Jesus’ heart moved with compassion?  What allowed him to notice the need in the towns and synagogues?
    • Based on this observation, what is necessary for one’s heart to fill with compassion for people?

Personal reflection and Application

Jesus leadership was always motivated by compassion – love that wells up in our hearts and stirs up to fulfill a need.  To read more about compassion as the motive of Jesus’ ministry, read this article What is Love?. (

  1. Consider the condition of your heart. Have your heart grown harder or softer for people in the last six months?
    • How do you measure it?
    • Why did it grow harder or softer?
  2. Recall one instance in your life where you were moved with compassion to do something for someone or a community. When and where was this? Who did you feel for?  What was the need and how did you respond?
    • WHY did you feel for him/ her/ them?
  3. Consider the people you lead (such as your small group or family or people at work). Reflect on one or two of them: their past, their current situation and struggles, their ambitions.
    • In which way can you identify with his/her past?
    • In which way can you identify with his/her current situation and struggles?
    • In which way can you identify with his/her ambitions?
    • Can you understand what they feel? Can you how you are quite alike?
    • Now pray for him/ her from your heart and afterward send a message of encouragement.


Thank God for the compassion he has on you and kindness he extends towards you. Pray that the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thessalonians 3:11).



Healing the Brokenhearted 5 – a God of compassion

The aim of this devotional study of to reflect on God’s attitude to our brokenness and failures.

This 2min Sermon Jam of Matt Chandler will greatly enhance this study today.


Isaiah 49:13-17

13  Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

14  But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

15  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17  Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you.


God’s afflicted people are personified in this chapter by the broken state of the destroyed city of Jerusalem.

  1. What do you learn about God’s character and attitude towards his broken people from this Text?
  2. The Lord likens his comfort, compassion and attentiveness of his people to a nursing mother. Why can a nursing mother not forget her own baby?  What do does the Lord wish to convey about his relationship to his people?

Personal Reflection

Oftentimes we get frustrated by our own brokenness and weaknesses, and therefore think that God is impatient and frustrated with us because of these imperfections.

  1. Jot down your own most prominent habitual flaws and brokenness. In simple words describe that to yourself.
  2. Reflecting on this Text, how do you expect God to relate to your brokenness and flaws?
  3. Would the God described in this Text give up on you and walk away from you because of your imperfections? What would God rather do?

Application and Prayer

Hebrews 4:15-16

15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  1. Follow the counsel of this portion to the broken, fickle congregation of Hebrews
    1. Approach God with confidence, with shame and no fear of rejection, and state your brokenness to him.
    2. Ask for mercy for your (habitual) imperfections and shortcomings, because Jesus knows what you are going through.
    3. Ask for grace (help) to restore ad heal your brokenness.
  2. Consider someone you know whose brokenness manifests in some destructive pattern.
    1. Approach God on his/her behalf and appeal for mercy (forgiveness) and grace (help), because Jesus knows what he/she is going through.

BS1 Motivational Gifts7 – the merciful

The aim of the devotional bible study is to grow in the understanding and appreciation of motivational gift of the mercy (or compassion).


Luke 10:30-37

30  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

34  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

36  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”


Note: in the reading of today’s Text we will focus on the generous character and motives the Good Samaritan to better understand the motivational gifts of the mercy or compassion. This is one of the seven motivational gifts (also called “the gifts of the Father” according to 1 Corinthians 12:4-6) that each person is born with which drives his/her actions throughout his/her life.

  1. Mercy / compassion motivated people generally have the following characteristics. How can you identify them in the story of the Good Samaritan?  Comment and give references from the Scripture above.
    1. They have a unique ability to sense distress or pain in others.
    2. They have the capacity to show extraordinary love (compassion) for people in need.
    3. They are gentle-hearted and put others above themselves, while remaining joyful and cheerful.
    4. They are very attentive to what others say and do, seeking to identify with them.
    5. They are very careful not to cause harm to others.
    6. They are sensitive to the motives of others, and can discern wrong motives easily.
    7. They tend to feel what is the right thing to do where others think what is the right thing to do.
  2. From the Good Samaritan’s story above, which characteristic of the mercy (or compassion) motivated person is most striking to you personally?


  1. Looking at the Good Samaritan as an example of a mercy-motivated person – what should a person with this motivational gift take care before taking initiative? What questions will you tell this person to ask before getting involved in other people’s lives?
  2. Considering the characteristics listed in Observation question 1 above, why do we consider mercy motivated people as “gifts from God the Father”? i.e. how do they benefit me, you and the world around us?

Application and Prayer

Note: If you have not completed the free online motivational gift test, do so now:

  1. Are you a strong mercy motivated person? Considering this example of the Good Samaritan:
    1. What are you grateful for about your gift, which you must cherish?
    2. What must you be cautious about in your interactions with others?
    3. Thank God for how he made you, and pray that he may grant you grace to grow in love, patience in dealing with others, discernment of people’s needs and intentions and wisdom to know how to help people most appropriately while taking adequate care of myself and my family.
  2. Who do you know that are strongly mercy motivated?
    1. Thank them for their good influence in your life – for their care for you and those around you, and the way they showcase God’s compassionate love and thereby teaching you how to show patient, selfless, compassionate love.
    2. Thank God for them and their good influence in your life. Pray for these people by name that God will bless them with grace to grow in love, patience in dealing with others, discernment of people’s needs and intentions and wisdom to know how to help people most appropriately, yet not to the neglect of themselves and their families.

The Blessed Life 5

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the rewards the righteous – of those who fear the Lord.


Psalms 103:8-18

8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  9  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  10  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;  12  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

14  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  15  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

17  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18  to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.


Note: To fear the Lord means to live with the knowledge that God is our creator and judge, and therefore we his servants who live according to His will and depart from evil (See Eccl 12:13-14; Psalm 34:11-14, Proverbs 3:7; 8:13)

  1. Psalm 103 calls us to bless the Lord and remember the goodness of God towards us.  Summarize in one phrase what the Psalm tells of God in each of the following segments:
  • Verses 8-10
  • Verses 11-13
  • Verses 14-16
  • Verses 17v18
  1. What does this Psalm tell of the Lord’s special treatment of those who fear him? (v11-13, 17-18)


  1. Verses 13-14 reads like this: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”
  • Love can be translated as “deliberate attention and action for the good of the receiver”. According to this definition, does a father give more love or less love to his son who struggles in life?  Why?
  • Why does the Father show compassion to those who fear Him in these verses? Answer in your own words.
  • Sometimes we feel that God may love us less because we struggle or fail in His holy standards.  What does this Psalm say to people who feel like that – people who want to please God in holy living?

Prayer and Confession

Do you fear the Lord?  Pray a prayer of confession and thanksgiving over yourself from this Psalm

  • Praise God with the truth of His character and ability according to this Psalm
  • Confess what God promises to you and what he feels about you.
  • Thank God for his merciful goodness towards you.

Setting the Captives Free 1

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus’ compassion over oppressed people and his authority over demons.

This 3min video dramatization will greatly add to your Bible reading today (



Mark 5:1-20

1  They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.  2  And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.  3  He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4  for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him.  5  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6  And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7  And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”  8  For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9  And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country.

11  Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12  and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13  So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14  The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15  And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16  And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17  And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.

18  As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19  And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  20  And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.


  1. In studying this section describe what you observe about all these key characters as Mark reports relays this account – noting the five key sections:
  • The man in need of deliverance (verses Mar_5:1-5).
    The confrontation between Jesus and the demons (verses Mar_5:6-10).
      The perishing pigs (verses Mar_5:11-13).
      The swineherds and the people to whom they report (verses Mar_5:14-17).
      The cured man’s request and Jesus’ reply (verses Mar_5:18-20).
  • 2. Considering the five main paragraphs and their key characters above,
  • Who was pitiful? Who was merciless?  Who was merciful?
  • Who was powerless? Who was overpowered?  Who was most powerful?
  1. What do you learn about demons from this account? What are they like?  What do they like?  List the characteristics that are mentioned here.
  2. What do you learn about Jesus’ compassion for people oppressed by demons?
  3. What do you learn about Jesus’ authority over demons?

Application and prayer

What is the thing in this life that you fear, or that is too powerful for you to control?  Do you believe that Jesus is more powerful than it?  Then praise Jesus as the One who has All Authority, pray against this challenge in Jesus’ Name as you feel the Holy Spirit leads you.20

Biblical Faith 5

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and appreciation of Biblical Faith, and to put it to practice today.


Mark 2:1-12

1  And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  2  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.

3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.  5  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7  “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic– 11  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

12  And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”


  1. Jesus healed the paralytic man because of the faith of the friends. How did Jesus see their faith?
  2. Connect the persons or groups on the left with the most appropriate characteristics on the right, as illustrated in this text:

Jesus                            Ecstatic with thanks

God                              Focused on what is right and wrong

Friends                        Alone can forgive sins

Paralytic                      Amazed

Scribes                         Filled with compassion

Crowd                          Acted in faith

  1. What is the lesson on faith in Jesus’ interaction with the friends?
  2. What is the lesson on faith in the Jesus’ interaction with scribes?
  3. What is the lesson on faith in the Jesus’ interaction with paralytic man?

Application and prayer

  1. It is so easy to miss the needs of people or even what God is doing when one fixate on what is “right and wrong” as the scribes’ did. Spend some time to ask the Lord for love and “eyes of faith” to see what he is doing in the lives of the people you interact with today.
  2. The lame man obeyed the command of Jesus to get up immediately and received his healing by faith. Ask the Lord for that faith to obey when He commands to day.
  3. The friends took it upon themselves to act in faith – with lots of creativity and effort – to bring their friend to Jesus for the miracle he needs, and Jesus reward their faith. Which friend needs a miracle today? What will you do to bring him/her to Jesus?  Start in prayer now, and see what the Lord says. (It can be as simple as bringing him/her to church).  Be that friend!