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Focus Verses: Matthew 14:13-16
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." 16 Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is better known than the circumstances that led up to it. I think it is important to notice that this event took place at a time when Jesus was trying to get away from the crowds. Why? Because he had just been told about the murder of John the Baptist and wanted to be alone.
Instead of being indignant, when the unrelenting crowds managed to find him, Jesus was "filled with compassion." Rather than being upset with the people for their lack of regard for his needs, he focused on their needs—healing their sick and providing them with food.
Response and Action:
The selfless love Jesus displays in this event is more impressive to me than the miracle of multiplying a small amount of fish and bread. The way he was able to produce feelings and acts of compassion out a heart that was grieving and longing for solitude is, to me, a greater miracle than producing abundant food from a little boy's lunch.
Maybe that's the most important point of this story. None of us ever really have what it takes to meet the needs of others. We don't have the emotional strength, the time, the answers, or the patience to really meet needs. I need to depend on God to multiply the little I have. Through Jesus, I can be a blessing to others, even when my circumstances and limitations leave me with little to offer on my own.
O God, give me a heart to look beyond my own needs and to see the needs of others. Dear Jesus, bless and multiply my meager resources so that I can bless and help others. When I feel too empty or weak to share, fill my heart and hands with good things to give. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Psalm 145:15-18
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community
by Robert C. Linthicum