Getting dressed

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. Many people were coming and going, so there was no time to eat. He said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” They departed in a boat by themselves for a deserted place.

Many people saw them leaving and recognized them, so they ran ahead from all the cities and arrived before them. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.

Late in the day, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place, and it’s already late in the day. Send them away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something to eat for themselves.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

But they said to him, “Should we go off and buy bread worth almost eight months’ pay and give it to them to eat?”

He said to them, “How much bread do you have? Take a look.”

After checking, they said, “Five loaves of bread and two fish.”

He directed the disciples to seat all the people in groups as though they were having a banquet on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, broke the loaves into pieces, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate until they were full. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. About five thousand had eaten. ~Mark 6:30-44 (CEB)

“Jesus was often prompted by compassion to act on behalf of those who were suffering loss, disease, and hunger. It seems inevitable that those who follow Jesus must also show compassion in all of their decisions and actions. This is especially true of those who relate to people suffering hunger, disease, and death. The followers of Jesus cannot ignore the needy of the world, and neither can we look away from the needs of the world. If our lives are modeled after the one we claim to follow, we will, as Jesus did, look with compassion upon all who cross our paths. Looking with compassion requires the further step of seeking to alleviate the pain that prompted our compassion.

Colossians 3:12 has provided a source of guidance and strength for my life for many years. ‘As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.’ The author of Colossians calls the followers of Jesus to clothe themselves with these five incredible qualities, and the first of them is compassion. As chosen ones, it is the only option. To be chosen as God’s beloved can only evoke gratitude and goodness. Therefore our response of compassion for the world is really a response to God’s unqualified love for us. How could we respond in any other way?

Jesus saw a need, had compassion, then sought to remedy the need. As Christians we seek to model our lives after Jesus. The pain of the world draws forth our compassion and our effort to remedy the need.

As God’s beloved, pray this week for you to see the needs around you and for compassion that will prompt actions to meet those needs with loving remedy. ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, help me this day to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. May all I do this day be a reflection of you. Amen.

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