Empty of Empathy

It seemed he would never stop talking so I stopped listening. My mind drifted off to my own set of problems and concerns. His story, just like the two dozen I had heard before him seemed a distraction. I had to remind myself. It was his story that I was supposed to listen to and give all of my attention. Ultimaely, the ministry of medicine is only a ministry if you actually minister, or serve. That requires listening.

However, right now, I am engulfed with my own personal challenges. How could I help my wife overcome her illness? How long was she going to be in the hospital? Did I actually make her sick? These were all good questions. But these questions are completely inappropriate when there is a sick person in front of me. I need to exhibit empathy and compassion to this man, right here and right now. I feel empty of empathy. I feel overwhelmed with my own concerns.

It is in such a time that the Holy Spirit comes and gives me the second breath. He fills me with the energy of His compassion, His competence. It is His empathy that gets me out of the slump and enables me to provide what each individual I am called to minister to, the service they should have. The Holy Spirit asks me, ‘dear son, do you want your wife’s doctor to be distracted as you are right now? Do you want her doctor to be more concerned about their own problems when they are speaking to her? Should they be like you, empty of empathy?’

The Holy Spirit always makes it personal. Whenever I am empty of empathy, I must remember, only He is able. I am the vessel which must be filled with His presence to minister health and healing. I must keep my mind centered on serving Him and that means focused on making sure the person in front of me is given the best care I can provide.

God gets glory through me, if I will learn to lean on Him as I provide for others. His love never ceases. He is never empty of empathy.

For it is God who works within you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose Philipians 2:13