Friday, August 04, 2017

Jesus' hospitable heart

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Matthew 14:13-21

TO CHEW ON: “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’” Matthew 14:16

The amazing banquet of fish and bread we read of today took place in the context of  grief. Jesus had just heard of the death of His relative and friend, John the Baptist. He went to a deserted place, no doubt to process this sad news by Himself. But he wasn’t alone for long (Matthew 14:12-14).

The city crowds that found Him stirred up His emotions even more. On this day Jesus experienced the reality of human existence: death, sickness, hunger. His was no stingy, there-may-not-be-enough response. Rather, His every reaction was welcoming—a testimony to the enoughness of God in every category.
  • He welcomed the crowds with compassion, showing not a ripple of annoyance that they had intruded on his solitude.
  • He healed their sick.
  • He fed them. When His disciples suggested, very practically after this long day that He send them off to find food, Jesus turned their suggestion around to “You feed them.”

I love this glimpse into the generous hospitality of God. It’s an example to us of how we, as those indwelt by His Spirit, can count on, should count on Him to be enough for every situation in our lives and the lives of those around us. It includes having hearts, not full of ourselves but softened with compassion [splanchnizomai - tender mercies, feelings of affection, compassion, sympathy, pity] for those around us.

The last bit of the story, where the disciples picked up the leftovers, now multiplied to many times more than the original source (Matthew 14:20), speaks to me of how generosity and hospitality typically gets repaid many times over what was put in.

Dear Father, please give me the faith to believe You are sufficient to meet the needs of those around me using me. I need Your generous, hospitable, compassionate heart. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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