Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 12, 2011

one of those interruptions

You’ve been there. Life has been hectic, but you sense a bit of relief. You have plans to get away for a day, or maybe longer just to unwind and refuel your emotional tank. And then it happens. An interruption delays your plans, or people who you feel obligated to help, need you now. You feel guilty about the emotions that erupt in your spirit. But what’s your choice; help those you love fix the immediate problem. or ignore it all and just go on your personal retreat? I know what you would do! In my reading through the books of Matthew and Mark during the last two weeks (keep reading with me), I have already read about the feeding of the five thousand twice. This incredible miracle has grabbed the attention of young and old, but to the disciples it was one of those interruptions.

From my study, it seems that the events leading up to the miraculous feeding were intense. John the Baptist had died, and the apostles were giving Christ a report of what they had been doing. So many people were going and coming that they could not even eat, so Christ had a solution. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”(Mark 6:31b). Can you relate? They went by boat to a solitary place. Upon landing, they are confronted with a large crowd. If I was traveling with Christ, my reaction probably would have been, “this is not my idea of rest”. However the response of Christ is very instructive, and not just because the five thousand were fed.

Can you agree with me that Christ would have known there would be a large crowd surrounding them when the boat landed? After all, He is God. It is also interesting to look at the response that He had to the crowd. Putting the Matthew and Mark accounts together, we learn that He had compassion on them and began teaching and healing. I am convinced that Christ and His disciples needed the break, but He chose a greater good. I really want to have the mind of Christ (and I am sure you do too), but compassion may not have been my first reaction upon encountering the crowd. I wonder how the disciples felt. We do know that late in the day they wanted to send the crowd away.

Was Jesus teaching a lesson on looking at the needs of others, even when we don’t feel like it? Again, it is obvious to me that He knew the crowds would be confronting them. Did Christ care that His disciples needed rest? Of course! Was He modeling an attitude that all Christ followers should seek to exhibit? I think so! Can we accept that when Christ interrupts our plans for rest, He knows best? Absolutely!

It is easy to enjoy the miraculous feeding. But the heart of Christ was on more than just feeding the people. They had spiritual needs, and He had compassion. There will be times for all of us when our emotions cry out for a break. But if our Lord chooses to interrupt our plans, He does so for a purpose. Could it be that someone in your world needs your love and compassion more than you need your well-intentioned emotional rest? If so, trust your Father’s design, and don’t worry … rest will come.

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