Bible Reading: Mark 6:30-44
He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark 6:34
JESUS’ DISCIPLES had just returned from a preaching mission-and they were exhausted. Jesus felt their fatigue and kindly suggested that they jump in a boat for a while and get away from it all.
But the crowds chased Jesus and the disciples, running along the shore and waiting when the boat pulled in. Again Jesus acted kindly. He gathered the crowds around and taught them. But late in the afternoon the disciples interrupted Jesus to tell him the people needed to leave-and go find supper. But Jesus in his kindness also heard their stomachs growling. He wowed his disciples by feeding the multitude with a snack of five biscuits and a couple of fish.
If you look closely, you see that Jesus’ compassion moved him to do three huge things in this scene: (1) he gave his time to the worn-out disciples when they needed to pull back with their Master; (2) he gave his teaching to the crowd when they wandered shepherdless; and (3) he gave his help by meeting the material needs of thousands when they were hungry.
Being a Christian means tuning in to Christ’s compassionate heart and letting his kindness propel you into doing something for people whose hurts you feel. Tuning in and doing are both hard. Christians need to keep growing toward mature selflessness. Most of the time others’ needs have to be downright tragic to crash through our selfishness and command our attention.
Like Jesus, you can act on your compassion in at least three ways:
First way: Give time to hurting people. It’s great to congratulate people who made the cheerleading squad. But do you ever pay attention to the people who weren’t picked?
Second way: Give advice, instructions, or insight to someone in a world of hurt. After you comfort a person slammed by a tough circumstance, ask your all-wise God for insight on how to make the situation easier.
Third way: Give something solid to a needy person. Buy lunch for a classmate who’s short on lunch money. Take magazines or flowers to a person in the hospital. Do whatever you can to act on your feelings of compassion.
If you’re anything like every other human being, your own interests often dull your sensitivity to others’ needs. But there may be times when you notice that people around you are hurting. Does that sometimes hurt you too? Well, that’s the compassion of Jesus rising in you. So don’t let that feeling die. Take a clue from the compassionate Savior and act as compassionately as you feel.
REFLECT: How do you plan to fan the flame of compassion inside of you?
PRAY: Ask God to show you opportunities to give like Jesus gave.