The passage from today’s Daily Office that speaks most directly to my heart is a well-known story from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6. The disciples of Jesus have just returned from a “lab experience” in ministry. They were sent out in pairs to preach and to heal, and now they’ve returned to tell Jesus about all that they’ve done. But because so many people are coming and going, they don’t even have a chance to eat; so Jesus has compassion on them: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
I hear (and I need) that same invitation. The early weeks of this new year have been unusually busy; and there are moments when the press of new demands and ongoing responsibilities hardly leaves time and space to reflect meaningfully on what’s been going on. But I’m convinced that my compassionate Lord desires more for me than an endless treadmill of activity. And so he beckons: “Come with me…and get some rest.”
In what ways do you need rest today? What has been going on in your life that you need to process with Jesus? And what does it mean to you to know that Jesus wants that time, too – that He wants to be with you and give you rest?
Of course, the gospel goes on to say that the people saw Jesus and his disciples setting out; so they ran ahead and were already waiting when the Lord and his friends reached their intended destination. But rather than getting frustrated – and rather than telling the people that they would have to wait their turn – the scripture says: “When Jesus saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34)
Jesus has compassion for us…but He has compassion for others, too. And as “The Feeding of the Five Thousand” demonstrates, He is able to use us – worn out and stressed though we may be – to nourish and satisfy others so that they, too, can experience the goodness of God. Because in the end, it’s not our resources that make the difference – but our willingness to place those resources in the hands of Jesus – so that our compassionate Lord can make them the means through which others are blessed.
How might Jesus use us to “nourish and satisfy” others today, even when our available resources seem inadequate?
May we trust in His compassion and in His ability to provide; and may we watch in thanksgiving and wonder as He does “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)