“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” Matthew 7:15-20, (MSG) I have come across prayer warriors online who charge people for their prayers. I have also come across pastors who make their parishioners uncomfortable by repeating begging the audience to give more and more money. I have seen pastors who had decided to leave their church due to controversy, but changed their minds when they began to think they were better and smarter than anyone else.
Where is love in all of this? After all, our Heavenly Father desires compassion, not sacrifice: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13 (NASB) Our Father urges us: “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17 (NASB) and “To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3 (NASB).
Here we have three different Bible testimonies that reinforced the idea that our Father values compassion and a broken spirit far more than sacrifice!
We are not here to take care of ourselves. We are here to genuinely serve, just like Jesus did. Jesus always put others before his own needs. His message was filled with love. Those who preach otherwise are not from our Father: “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (NASB) We often think that sacrifice shows how committed we are. However, genuine love is way more important. Sacrifice is focused on one’s self while genuine love is focused on others. After all, Jesus died on a lonely cross to show how genuine His love towards us is: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NASB) Raoul Wallenberg was a man with genuine love. During WWII the Nazis were sending the Hungarian Jews to concentration camps, and no one could stop them. After all, Hitler wanted all Jews exterminated. Wallenberg, on the other hand, was determined to save as many Jews as possible. After all, they, too, were humans.
Wallenberg succeeded in convincing the Swedish embassy to negotiate with the Germans that anyone who had protective passes would be treated like Swedish citizens and would be exempt from wearing the yellow star of David. He used unconventional methods to accomplish his purpose, including bribes and extortion threats. The Swedish diplomats were initially hesitant because they did not approve of his tactics, but in the end they gave their candid support.
Wallenberg was initially given only 1,500 passes. When that wasn’t enough, he negotiated for more and more, even stooping to promises and empty threats. In the end, the Hungarian foreign ministry ended up granting him 4,500 protective passes. Then he had a new idea. He built 30 safe houses under the protection of the Swedish embassy. These became safe havens for the Jews.
Eventually, the Nazis, led by Eichmann, started the brutal death marches, forced more and more Jews to leave Hungary by foot. When Eichmann started to transport the Jews by trains, Wallenberg came to the rescue. He courageously climbed into the train wagons, he walked along the wagon roofs, and he even stood on the tracks in front of the trains…Anything to stop the deportations. The officers were ordered to shoot him; however, the soldiers admired his courage, and they purposely aimed their fire above his head.
When the Russians arrived in Budapest, they found 120,000 Jews who survived, most of them thanks to Wallenberg. Eventually Wallenberg was seen being forced into a Russian car. No one ever saw him after that.
Wallenberg was driven to save as many people as possible. Compassion was his motto. What is your motto?
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)