I am convinced that God places us in situations where we are given the opportunity to choose whether or not we will help the most vulnerable among us. Whether it is with the homeless or with the helpless, each encounter offers us a stark choice: will we be agents of God's mercy or not?
(For the context, follow the link.)
This reminds me of (or is simply a statement of) one answer to the problem of evil: God allows the existence of seemingly pointless suffering for the greater good of us freely choosing beneficent acts.
But consider this from the perspective of the injured starling or the tsunami victim. These poor people (taking the starling to be a person) are suffering, possibly or even probably dying, for no other reason than that the comfortable and privileged thereby have an opportunity to show how great they are. How could a God who freely uses sapient beings in this way be considered compassionate and loving?