Summary: Finding hope in Jesus Christ through the compassion of others, along with a God who deals in multiplying our gifts.
Jesus just hears that his cousin John the Baptist is dead and it seems the news hits him pretty hard and He wants to get away and be by himself. So he and his disciples get on a boat to go to a secluded place.
Verse 14 tells us “When he went ashore he saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
Even though Jesus wanted to be alone. Even though he had just heard of his cousin dying Jesus saw a need and He began teaching and healing the sick.
Jesus looked out upon the crowd of people and He saw something, He saw people who had needs, he saw people with a hopelessness in their eyes and they needed something, Jesus saw people who needed Hope and because of his compassion He gave hope to the hopeless.
I want to tell you a story about hope coming to a family in the most unlikely way.
There was a family that ran into some bad luck, the father was working as a carpenter building the power plant in Port Gibson Mississippi. One day a rod his safety belt was attached to broke and he fell about 35 feet to the concrete below. He broke both feet and messed up his knee pretty bad and he was in and out of the hospital for several months and both feet were in cast for what seemed liked an eternity. Now this situation made it hard on an already poor family it was hard on him and his wife and their four kids. There were days when they all wondered where their next meal would come from, but somehow it always came. A church down the road would send money, or maybe someone would drop some food by.
But by Christmas things had gotten pretty bad. No ham in the fridge, no Christmas tree with gifts under its branches, there was barely enough money for shoes and jackets for the winter. Four Kids wondering if Christmas would be cancelled, children thinking they would have no gifts to open, not only were there no gifts under the tree, there wasn’t even a tree! A family feeling utterly hopeless with nowhere to turn except to Jesus. They were relying on Jesus and the compassion of others to give them hope.
One day as they all sat in the living room they heard a horn blow and went outside to see who was coming to visit and low and behold there sat a brown and white Chevy Cheyenne loaded down with a Christmas tree, food for a fabulous Christmas dinner and boxes and bags overflowing with clothes and presents. This family found hope in the bed of that Chevy Cheyenne that was filled with the compassion of many family members and friends that took that long drive from Mississippi to deliver Hope to a family that was very close to losing all hope. They gained hope that day not because of anything they could do on their own but by the multiplying generosity of people with compassion.
Those people that Jesus encountered that day gained hope not because of anything other than the simple fact that Jesus had compassion for them and fed them.
I may not know a lot but I do know this; it is the compassion and kindness of others that gives us hope to carry on when circumstances are gloomy. I learned this fact many years ago when that Chevy Cheyenne filled with hope pulled into our driveway.
As people of hope we must realize that there comes a time when we need to step up to the plate and do something. In the scripture today the disciples wanted to send the crowd away so they could go to the villages and eat and rest but in verse 16 Jesus says they do not need to go away You Give Them something to eat!
Do you hear what he is saying He says YOU feed them, you witness to them you tell them about Jesus. You tell them what Jesus is doing in your life.
We are all called to discipleship we are all responsible for feeding others.
You might say, well I’m not a good speaker or I don’t have time or I don’t have money. It’s time we quit making excuses, we can all do something compassionate for others we can send a card, we can mow a loan, change a flat, cook a meal how about just a smile or a wave. We can all do something. What did Jesus say to the disciples? He said “YOU FEED THEM.”
We need to be giving our best to God give your best to God, the very best we have no matter how small or insignificant we think it is. Now you may think I’m trying to lay a guilt trip on you today to encourage you to give more or do more, if you think this way then you don’t see the big picture and you’re missing the point.