There is no end in sight to the amount of information we take in: Needs from around the world come at us from all forms of media. That's not to mention things to do, things to read, phone calls to make, toilets to fix, closets to clean out, cars to wash, and calories to burn.
It’s no wonder then, that because of the sheer volume of things coming at us that we want to run into our houses at night, close the door quickly, close the blinds, and allow the sights and sounds of the TV to wash over us as we sit numb in a recliner. That’s certainly what I feel like doing at times.
I’ve studied an incident this week where Jesus was with a large crowd. Using my imagination, I can’t help but think that as Jesus says to his disciples, “I have compassion on this crowd,” that I can almost hear them saying, “Jesus we’ve noticed that when you have compassion on a crowd, that seems to end up being a lot of work for us. “
They didn’t have the same capacity Jesus did so their response to the awareness of a new need was to get defensive. “What can we do? Nobody has the resources, nobody has the money, there’s no store around that could help us feed so many people; how can you think that it is our responsibility to do something about this?”
There are too many times when I hear about a new need somewhere deep in my heart, I say, ““That can’t be my responsibly.” Too many times I've followed that inclination, went home and ate ice cream. But by God's grace there have been other times when I've moved toward the need and came away knowing I'm doing God's bidding.
The truth is we do need healthy boundaries. There are people who will take advantage of us. And Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” Still we must not have a knee jerk negative reaction to every new nee. Because it could be an instance of Jesus saying to us, “I have compassion on the crowd.” “I have compassion on your neighbor, your brother, your sister, your co-worker, your spouse, and here’s the need. And yes, I am prompting you, I am bringing this to your mind, I am enabling you to see this need right now because I plan to use you to do something about it."
So we can’t be in the default mode of saying, “I’m done. I’m not paying attention to any new needs. Don’t tell me about anything else. Don't put anything else on my plate”
Rather, we need to have an open heart when we are made aware of a new need and ask Jesus, “Is this something that you are bringing to my mind and if so, what do you want me to do.”
If he is doing that, he already has a plan in mind for how he plans to use you and that you don’t want to miss.
Tomorrow at Bethany Place I will focus on a different aspect of the passage in a message I’m calling, Hunger Games.