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You Can’t Want It More Than They Do

Recovery (Substance Abuse) Compassion Ministry

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-01-15

Author: Mitchell Dillon


Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28). The Apostle Paul, like every pastor, knew what it was to carry the burden of concern for others. As a pastor for over thirty years, I understand just how heavy that burden can be, and the emotional toll it can take when it’s carried over an extended period of time. I’ve become convinced that there are certain things you must learn to avoid if you’re going to last in ministry. Allow me to illustrate. 

My last church was a recovery church. My heart’s burden was to see every person who passed through those doors experience deliverance from the devastating effects of drug addiction and alcoholism.  Such a ministry can be very emotionally frustrating, especially when there are families with young children involved, and the addict continues to relapse. One such case involved a woman who had recently lost her husband and daughter to a tragic accident and had just checked herself out of recovery in the middle of her program. 

The future of her young sons hung in the balance as her church support team sat around a dining table to counsel her. It became pretty clear, after listening to how she was going to “work out” her own sobriety program, that every person sitting around that table was more committed to her success than she was. 

I finally said, “it’s clear to me this isn’t going to work. We can’t care more about your sobriety than you do. When that changes, let us know. For now, we need to step aside and let you do what you’ve already determined you’re going to do.”


There’s a limit to how much we can and should try to help those who fail to see their own need.  When you’re in the caring business, you often have to put a check on your compassion. You can’t care more than the ones you’re trying to help. If you do, you’ll burn out on the wrong people, on the ones that can’t be helped, and you’ll have nothing left for the others. 

This is God’s dilemma, as well. He cares for each of us more than we care for ourselves. But just like my alcoholic friend, we rebuff His care when we should welcome it. We do this because we don’t really want to be delivered from our destructive behaviors, from our addictions.  So we reject His role in our recovery.  We assure Him we’ll do just fine handling it our way.  And God, being as wise as He is compassionate, steps aside. 

Prairie Schooners

Missions Compassion Servanthood

Source: Sermon

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-10-06

Scripture: Matthew 25:29 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller


In the American Old West, the pioneers used a kind of self-defense called "circling the wagons." It involved driving a wagon train in a circle so that the pioneers could camp inside and keep the wolves out.  Today, some people see the church as a circle of wagons, protecting them from the world around them.

The Hebrew people had to circle the wagons in Babylon.  They chose not to eat the Babylonian food or adopt the Babylonian customs.  They stayed separate, kept their rituals, preserved their culture, and protected themselves.  This lifestyle produced a group that would be called the "set apart ones," or in Hebrew, "perushim," which we translate Pharisees.  


The problem was Jesus took a different approach.  He taught His disciples to reach out to outsiders.  As a result, the Church started a mission to reach Gentiles rather than keeping separate.  With Jesus, there would be no circling of the wagons.

Funny thing about those pioneers.  They called their wagons "Prairie Schooners." A schooner is a sailboat.  Those tarps stretched over their wagons looked a bit like sails.  And like a boat that sets out to open sea, the pioneers weren't searching for safety but for adventure.

We must continue to do the same.  We are not here to keep people safe from the world; we are here to change the world. We're here on a great adventure; to reach lost people for Jesus, not to hide out from the world.

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20). 

You Are The "Fiber Optic Light" Of The World

Jesus' Love Compassion Holy Spirit

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Dan Kelley | Date Posted: 2018-07-13

Scripture: John 8:12 ; John 15:5

Author: Dan Kelley


Humans are much like a single strand of a fiber-optic cable.  Like the optical fiber, our existence is meaningless unless we are conducting light.   And like the optical fiber, none of us have any light of our own. There is only one source of light and that's Jesus.


Most optical fibers are called "end glow" because light is supposed to come out of the end and not the sides.  If an "end-glow" fiber allows light to escape from the sides it is because it has been damaged.  When Christians are "damaged" by hardship, pain or suffering the Light inside comes out in the direction of that pain. 

Likewise, as we allow God to use us, He shines through us in ways that allow the light to reach others who have experienced the same pain. 

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'" (John 8:12). 

I Know How You Feel!

Empathy Compassion Disappointment

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2018-04-25

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:4 ; 2 Corinthians 1:6

Author: Jeff Passan

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Does Your Church Really Care?

Compassion Church Health/Growth Outreach

Contributed By: Kory Ferree | Date Posted: 2017-07-31

Scripture: James 2:16 ; Mark 9:41

Author: Kory Ferree

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The Bug Letter

Compassion Empathy Love (Human)

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2017-07-01

Scripture: Colossians 3:12 ; Matthew 9:36

Author: Charles Krieg

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911 Operator Arrested For Hanging Up

Compassion Jesus' Love Responsibility

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-04-29

Scripture: 4:9 ; John 15:13

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Walk A Mile In My Hospital Shoes

Compassion Perspective Leadership

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-12-13

Scripture: Matthew 7:12

Author: Illustration Exchange

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“Eyes Wide Open” Prayer

Prayer Compassion Lost Opportunity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-09

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ; Ephesians 6:8

Author: Illustration Exchange

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“Your Story Is Our Story”

Compassion Legacy Trials

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-08-08

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:8 ; 1 John 3:16

Author: Illustration Exchange

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