Monday, February 24, 2014

Lordy Mercy!

If you're not from the south you may not know the expression, but around here we use it when surprised, caught off-guard, or at a loss for words. It's slang for "Lord, have mercy!" Or maybe if you're close to my age and grew up watching Full House you've heard Uncle Jesse exclaim "Have mercy!" plenty of times.  I was thinking about this phrase the other day because I was pondering the word mercy. What is mercy, really?

First, let me tell you why I was even thinking about mercy. Last Sunday, Ben handed out a spiritual gifts survey (the Lifeway version) to everyone in our class in preparation for a lesson on community. He challenged us to take the survey and think of ways that we could use our gifts to serve each other. As you probably guessed, my highest category was mercy. 

If I had read the possible outcomes before taking the survey, I probably would have picked mercy because I took a different survey in college and my result was encouragement, which I think falls in line with mercy. So, I was not surprised, but what struck me the most was the description of mercy and what characterizes the person who has this gift. Here's the Lifeway survey definition of mercy:
Cheerful acts of compassion characterize those with the gift of mercy. Persons with
this gift aid the body by empathizing with hurting members. They keep the body healthy and
unified by keeping others aware of the needs within the church (Rom. 12:8). 

The description of the thoughts and feelings fits me to a T. I am very sensitive to others feelings and empathize naturally. BUT, I do not often take action any further than a smile, a hug, or a simple "I'm so sorry and I'm praying for you." Of course, none of these actions are bad, but if I am going to use my God-given super-sensitivity to minister to others, then I need to step it up. 

Oh, God, motivate my heart to not only feel along with the hurting people around me, but to take action in their cause- for your glory. May I "seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." {Isaiah 1:17} May gentleness of heart be evident in my life. 

From now on when I hear someone say "Lord, have mercy," I will be reminded that God has gifted me with the ability to show mercy. 

Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts survey? What was your result?
What gift would you like to improve your score on? Mine are wisdom and evangelism.


  1. I've also been told that my gift is encouragement. :) I'm very sensitive to others, too, and tend to take charge when it comes to edifying people. If you could pray for me though? Lately, I've felt that I haven't been able to exercise this gift in ways I think are key outlets. Because of circumstances, people, finances, etc. I know the Lord has all kinds of ways I can do this--I just want to bloom (and encourage) where I'm planted, and be obedient, whatever that looks like.

  2. Oh, I certainly will. That is similar to my own prayer for myself. Thanks for stopping by!