Quiet Compassion

I’d like to introduce to my friend and fellow author Michelle De Bruin. To celebrate the October 23 release of her second book, Hope for Tomorrow, I’ve invited Michelle to share a blog with all of us today. You can read more of her blogs at http://michelledebruin.com/author/michelledebruin/

Quiet Compassion
by my guest blogger, Michelle De Bruin

love-fishesWhere did this man get these things? Mark 6:2

Embedded in the action of traveling and teaching, Jesus offers a lesson on how to do ministry. It is easily obscured by the skepticism of his hometown and the scandal glaring from Herod’s family, but the lesson is still there and best perceived from the view of a disciple.

These men had given up everything to follow Jesus, and yet they were still discovering who he was, the power he possessed, and the mission that was someday to be theirs. Jesus begins with a basic assignment. He gives them instructions, and then they get to put those instructions into practice. Verses 12 and 13 tell us the disciples went out and preached. They drove out many demons, anointed sick people with oil, and healed them.

This first assignment taught the disciples about outreach and evangelism. Jesus’ instructions to become a member of the community opened the doors for them to use the authority he’d given them.

Later on, Jesus gives another lesson, this one about how to feed and care for others. The miracle Jesus performed with the five loaves and two fish satisfied the crowd’s physical hunger. It also helped the disciples understand a deeper message. In verse 37, Jesus says to them, “You give them something to eat.” The call suggested so much more than providing these people with a meal. It asked the disciples to offer Jesus himself. They participated with him in the miracle. Verse 34 says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

In the moment Jesus told his disciples to give the people something to eat, he invited them to share his compassion and to learn from him how to be a shepherd. He gave them the provisions needed to nourish the group that had gathered. The disciples could give to the crowd because Jesus nourished them.

The third lesson Jesus taught was about prayer. He’d sustained disappointment in his hometown, he’d received sad news about his cousin, John, and he spent a long day teaching and caring for a mob. Now he longed to spend time with his heavenly father. Prayer is where he went to find consolation, to gain wisdom, and to enjoy God’s presence. Jesus seeks out these solitary times frequently. The gospels often mention them in passing but Jesus’ habits of prayer and his reasons for it are worth paying attention to. He knew consolation, wisdom, and peace could only be found in his father’s presence.

Evangelism and outreach, shepherding and prayer, are Jesus’ methods in reaching the lost and advancing the kingdom of heaven. He called the disciples in and trained them all those years ago. Through their words in the gospels and the Holy Spirit speaking to us, we too, are called in and trained for a mission that produces a bountiful harvest and precedes us into eternity.

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