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. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. ~Matthew 14:13-14
Life is stressful. Life is crazy. Life is busy. Life is tiring. Life is all those things. We’ve all said them. We’ve all felt them. I have. In the end, life can be draining. “I’m too tired to…” Isn’t that something else we’ve all said?!
I have a very simple morning routine. As soon as I wake up I head to the gym. I work out for 60-70min. It is my ‘alone’ time. As I am on the eliptical I spend roughly 20 minutes listening to God’s word. Then, I spend 20 min working through an audiobook to strengthen my leadership. And lastly I spend 20 min listening to worship music. This is what works for me, you do you.
My point in sharing this, is that I have found this must be a non-negotiable in my life. Those “life is” statements lead to being emotionally drained. I don’t give my best effort to my work if I don’t first give God my best. This week, like many, has proven to be draining. I have had morning appointments. You know what that means with everything I just shared? Yup, waking up between 4:15-4:30am to give God my first hour and to focus myself. As I said, it’s non-negotiable. God brought me the above verse. It was timely for me personally and I want to share it with you.
Let me fill in a little bit of the context. What was the news that caused Jesus to “go for a ride”? His good friend and relative, John the Baptist, died. Not just any death. He was in jail. Herod made a deal with a dancer saying he’d give her anything she asked for. Prompted by her mom, she asked for John the Baptist’s head, like his actual head. Herod made an oath so he followed through.
Jesus had just found out His close friend, partner in ministry, and cousin was beheaded because of a shameful deal. What type of “life is” statement would you be making if you were Jesus in this moment? I imagine Jesus is emotionally drained, hurt, angry, etc. So He goes for a ride looking to be alone. Wouldn’t you?
He jumps onto a boat with the plan to find a solitary place but the crowds hear about it. They have no concern for what He is going through. They just want and need Him. Upon landing, looking to be alone, he instead sees a large crowd. What would you do? What would you be thinking?
“I need some me time.” “You’re not going to get the best me, I need to refuel.” Or worse, would we start hating the people who need us because we’re focused on our own needs. There is absolutely a time to rest, but rarely is there a time to ignore a need directly in front of you.
What is Jesus’ instinct? COMPASSION. Much of the work of His ministry was to heal people. He sees the crowd, rolls up His sleeves and gets to work. Directly after this, he generously feeds thousands of them. He’s just that, generous.
At Wellspring Church we value generosity. We can be generous in our resources, we can be generous with our time, we can be generous with the skills God has blessed us with. No matter the form generosity takes, I think compassion is a motivation.
Does compassion for others motivate you to be generous? Compassion is simply concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of other people.
My hope is that we would pray for our community Toms River. I pray that we would break over the sufferings and misfortunes of our community. I pray that we would break over the spiritual condition of our community.
If God answers these prayers it should motivate our compassion. If our compassion is genuine it should produce generosity. We can be generous even when we are on empty if we let Christ fill us.
We exist to ignite a craving for Jesus by relentlessly loving our community.
Feeling drained, God shared with me this needed passage. So I share with you.
In Relentless Pursuit of One,