A Compassionate Heart
Last week to celebrate Mary’s birthday, we headed down to the Texas Hill Country, LBJ territory. As we slowly drove the Willow Creek Loop, looking desperately for blue bonnets in what has become a drought zone, a tiny fawn struggled to run across the road to its momma hiding in the cedars. We were in deer country.
We had also seen sheep grazing in the middle of beef cattle, and I thought about what the ever-present mountain lions and coyotes would do to their vulnerable young ones. This land could be far from peaceful.
If you’ve been exposed to rough country away from the city lights, then you get it. Like sheep, we need Jesus, the Good Shepherd, willing to sacrifice his life for his sheep. But Jesus didn’t only die for us, he’s also willing to use his teaching gift to build us up. Mark gives us a vivid picture of how Jesus reacted when a crowd interrupted the private time of solitude and relaxation he was trying to get with his disciples even before it started.
“But a large number of the folk hungering for Jesus saw him leaving in the boat and figured out where he was heading. They outran the boat, and folks from all the surrounding towns arrived ahead of Jesus and his disciples. When Jesus got out of the boat and saw the large crowd, he was deeply moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:33-34
In the pastorate Mary and I got used to get-away times being interrupted by the urgent calls of sheep that needed care. Jesus’ example reminded us that he never behaved like a professional clergyman who didn’t like his “off hours” getting interrupted. When folks needed his guidance, protection, and provision, he heart was never cold. It was always full of tender compassion.
LORD, our time in the Hill Country was interrupted by the news that a dear friend’s daughter was in intensive care desperately fighting for her life after getting hit by a truck. Thanks for sustaining her through the crucial forty-eight hours, and we continue to cry out to you to have compassion on this precious wife, mother, and daughter. Restore her to complete health.
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