We hear your invitation, and heed, O Lord, your call; your word of consolation is spoken here to all.

It draws us to your loving heart; it brings us to your blessing, which never will depart.

from “Around You, O Lord Jesus” by F. M. Franzén (1772-1847)

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When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

Matthew 14:13-15

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How do you respond when faced with a massive challenge? If you are like me, then you know about running and hiding from responsibility. Most people are like that, but not everyone likes to admit it. Running, hiding, and avoiding responsibility is easy at first; however, it makes everything much harder before too long.

That seems to be the disciples’ approach to the task of caring for the massive crowds gathered to hear Jesus. “Send them away,” they say. Instead of continuing the compassion Jesus showed by healing the sick among the crowd, the disciples would rather place the responsibility of feeding the hungry on the hungry themselves. Such behavior is about self-preservation.

When faced with a challenge, no matter how massive, Jesus invites us to respond with love not for ourselves, but for others.

Sarah Boatwright

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Thank you, O God, for your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help me through your Holy Spirit to be compassionate instead of fearful so that I may boldly respond to your invitation to love others. Amen.

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Let gratitude be the pillow
Upon which you kneel to
Say your nightly prayer
And let faith be the bridge
You build to overcome evil
And welcome good

Maya Angelou in Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer (2006)

Sarah Boatwright

Sarah H. Boatwright is a child of God. Blessed with an amazing son and an incredibly patient husband, she gets to be a mom and a wife, too. Ever thankful for these gifts, Sarah enjoys writing, listening to music, and worship.

Walking Towards Morning: Where Cross the Crowded Ways

Ken Medema

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