Strength and Significance

Sometimes I feel the weight of the world weighing heavy on my shoulders.  I feel responsible for the happiness and well-being of everyone around me.  There are days when everyone is needing something from me and I feel pulled in a thousand directions at once.  And it seems, at these times, no one is giving to me…only taking…and I’m drained…and I want to just get away.  But, I can’t…because people need me.  And on it goes.

When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.  – Matthew 14:13a

When Jesus heard it…What had He just heard?  He had just been informed that someone very dear to Him, John the Baptist, had been murdered. 

Jesus had just been rejected by the people in Nazareth, his home.  He had just been given the devastating news of John’s death.  He needed to get away…spend some time alone.  I’m certain He needed some time alone in prayer with His Father.  He must have felt emotionally drained.  So, He needed to get away.

But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.  – Matthew 14:13b

What happened when Jesus tried to get some time alone to pray and refocus?  People followed Him. 

Although He was fully God…we are told that Jesus was also very much fully human.  We are told that He felt what we felt and was tempted in the same ways we are tempted.  He was human…which makes me think He had to be tired…and grieving…and emotionally weary. 

My heart’s desire is to be like Christ…my flesh’s desire is to just serve self.  My heart says…What can I do to help this person?  How can I serve them?  My flesh screams…Why is it my responsibility?  My heart wants everyone to be happy and find their significance in Christ.  My flesh wants to know who is concerned with my happiness.  Such is the battle between our spirit and our flesh.

And when Jesus went out He saw the great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.  – Matthew 14:14

He was moved with compassion…He was tired and hurting.  But when he saw others who were tired and hurting…he was moved with compassion.  That is how a life appears when you have died to self…have picked up your cross and followed Him.  When you’re hurting…you are still moved with compassion when you see people hurting. 

I think it’s interesting to read the disciples’ response to the multitudes…The hour is late.  Send them away.  They can get their own food.  Part of me can totally relate to these men.  They had been with Jesus all day, so they were tired and hungry too.  They probably were in need of some down time.  It’s late.  Send them away.  That is the world’s way…not Christ’s way.  Bring them to Me.  That’s what Christ says.  Bring them to Me.

We have not been called to an easy life, but a crucified one.  No matter how much we give to others, they may not give back.  That is okay.  We may be hurting and tired and stressed…and still people want more from us.  That’s okay.  Bring them to me. 

Paul spent the majority of his life spreading the gospel, helping churches, discipling believers.  Yet, in his letter to Timothy…

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me.  May it not be charged against them.  But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…  – 2 Timothy 4:16-17

That is where I find my strength today.  When those around me seem to demand more and more…and, yet, seem to forsake me when I am in need.  When I am hurting and look around only to find that no one is standing with me…The Lord will stand with me and give me strength.  The Lord will deliver me from evil…and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.

And that is where I find my strength and my significance.

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