There seems to have been some confusion at Cybersalt World Headquarter's regarding my nationality after a reference to 'soda pop' earlier this week. Today's title is to simply clarify - I am Canadian.
I'd love to tell you about another crazy thought for me from my morning Bible Study. In June I was reading Mark chapter 6 where Jesus and His disciples head off in a boat for some needed rest and refreshment. Mark puts it, “So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Apparently the solitary place was the boat; because when they arrived on shore a crowd had already gathered having run on ahead of them.Mark narrates, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Other translations say He was moved in His soul, He had compassion toward them, His heart broke, He felt sorry for them. These people were His creation; yet they clearly were not all He had created them to be. The one’s who had been given the responsibility of ‘shepherding’ them had sorely shirked their duties. A shepherd’s obligations included
- to watch for enemies trying to attack the sheep
- to defend the sheep from attackers
- to heal the wounded and sick sheep
- to find and save lost or trapped sheep
- to love them, sharing their lives and so earning their trust.
Here was a large crowd - over 5000 people. Jesus truly feels badly for the plight they are in. He wants to make life better for them and He not only knows how, He is capable of doing whatever needs to be done.
God Himself sees the plight humanity is in; we know He really gets it because He is moved with compassion; and yet His response to this crowd’s aggregate problems is completely surprising to me. Mark succinctly tells us exactly how Jesus the One and Only All Powerful God took care of our trouble: “So he began teaching them many things.”
Is that not astounding? Mark doesn’t even deem it necessary to tell us what He taught! I would have expected with several thousand people from ancient Palestine looking expectantly to their Creator, their Savior, this would have been a good time for some serious Roman or Pharisee butt kicking! Maybe some automatic redistribution of wealth to even things up a bit. How about some change of hearts to reconcile a few broken relationships? My vote would have gone with the showy, flashy “I am God; hear me roar!” response. Clearly, not the best idea.
In love and compassion, knowing and being capable to do what was genuinely best … He taught them. We don’t even know what. It makes me shake my head. It magnifies for me how incredibly far away I am in understanding what is really needed in a given situation. I remember the words of Isaiah 64:4; “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Here were thousands of people waiting – and God acted! He taught.
That leads directly to the other huge truth for me in Jesus responding to the needs of this crowd this way. More important than anything in any of our circumstances is knowing and believing God’s truth! We need to be taught! We need to know the truth! We need to live our lives in the reality of God’s truth! If life doesn’t change – we have not learned!
I teach piano. If a student returns week after week with no difference in their piano playing, it’s clear they have not learned. When there is progress, when there is change, when there is more ease and skill I know they have learned.
In life, it’s our minds that affect our hearts and behavior. If I believe I am alone and my situation hopeless, that affects how I behave, react, feel, and live.
If I believe
- Almighty God over All is delighted in me [Psalm 147:11],
- I am loved [Romans 5:8],
- God has included little me in His plans [Jeremiah 29:11],
- I am forgiven [1 John 1:9],
- I am NOT alone [Hebrews 13:5],
- I am beautiful [Isaiah 61:3]
plus the myriad of other truths God teaches in His word, it can’t help but affect how I behave, react, feel and live.
Of course, if I refuse to be taught, if I don’t believe it, if I think I know better, that I can or have to do this on my own, then none of these truths can get inside to begin the change that will make all the difference. Our circumstances may or may not change; but when we let God’s word into our hearts, when we believe Him, the difference is life-altering, mind-boggling, heart-healing – better even than we ever hoped or imagined it could be. That, fellow sojourner, I know to be true!