Sometimes when I am faced with the needs of the world—even the needs of the day—I want to grab a blanket and nap it all away. The needs are too many, too great, and this heart takes it all too personally. I’ve always said, a heart that loves much, aches much. So embracing the needs of the world is like embracing a porcupine—it’s going to hurt. Comfort will be compromised.
When Jesus was embracing our very needy world during His earthly ministry, He ached much. Here’s one of those moments where Jesus embraced those in need (Matt. 14:14–21, ESV):
When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
We could talk all day about the miracle of food multiplied (!!) but take a closer look at how the disciples assessed the need:
- location = desolate > no resources
- day = over > darkness was looming
- crowds = hungry > needed food
- solution = send the people away > distance from the need
I am so like these disciples (in my mind they are like the crab fishermen from Deadliest Catch). When the needs are mounting before me, I look around to the resources, the time, and the magnitude of need, and I count myself out as part of the solution.
I forget that Jesus is in my midst, the Source of everything, the Beginning and the End, the Bread of Life and Living Water. He is the solution. And as His disciple, I get to be part of the distribution process, using my hands, my feet, my heart to deliver His compassion.
Yes, it will still hurt—this world is aching. But there is joy in small redemptions, and it is worth the cost of comfort.
Do you have a bit of the disciples in you? How does common sense fool you into sending people away to get their needs met elsewhere?