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March 15 | Matthew 15:29-39


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Compassion

by David Thompson


Jesus Christ has made the difference in so many situations because He is by nature compassionate. It reminds me of a couple of stories told in my past of Christ's compassion, often times worked out through His people. The first instance was a lay person in a fairly small church that tells the story of having no money to buy food for his wife and children. They prayed about it but told no one. After having prayed about it they sat down at the table to give thanks to God for what they did have and lo and behold there was a knock at their door. When the father opened the door, he was surprised to see no one. But on further looking found two grocery bags of food left on their porch.


A second story much like the first came at Christmas. A new pastor of a small congregation began his pastorate just before the holiday. He and his wife had little money to buy their five children anything for Christmas. Once again they prayed that the children would understand and that they would make up for it the next year. Just before midnight there was a knock at the door and unlike the first story there were God's people at the door with numerous gifts, decorations and food for a grand holiday celebration. I know this to be fact as I married the second oldest child of that family. It is my wife, Carla's, cherished memory of the compassion and charity of God's people (a charity gifted from Christ).


In our passage today, we are amazed once again by a terrific miracle; the feeding of the 4,000. Again, like the feeding of the 5,000 earlier, the numbers offered were just the men who attended. Therefore, in today's reading the total number of people may have been 10,000 or more. Jesus had been walking many miles, climbed a mountainside and taught and healed without a break for many days. No one would have blamed Him if He simply stopped teaching and healing and bid everyone a fond farewell.


Why did He and His disciples have to feed them? The answer was seen in many places in the Old and New Testaments. For instance, in Galatians 6:2 it tells us to "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." In Colossians 3:12, it further states, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Finally, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the Word reminds us "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." In all these verses it tells us to be there for others and to lift others up.


Jesus certainly did that throughout the Bible and tells us often to do the same. (Other verses are Psalms 103:13; 119:1-7; Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 14:13-14 and Romans 12:15.) He took seven loaves of bread and a few fish and created a banquet for all to eat. It was miraculous to say the least as were the two stories I shared at the beginning of this devotion. When God's people do compassionate things, it is a true miracle. It is not in our human nature.

PRAYER

Dear God, thank you for showing us the way to show compassion to our neighbors. Help us to always reach out to others and show our Christian spirit to all that come our way. Amen.



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