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PENTECOST 20 – WEDNSEDAY DEVOTION

Readings:  Deuteronomy 20:1-20 and Matthew 15:21-39 

Matthew 15:32a Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.

 

“Compassion”

If you read through all the verses from Matthew in this selection you will only find the word compassion once, but you will find Jesus showing compassion in multiple ways. 

First, you have a woman from outside the Jewish faith who comes to Jesus because her daughter is very ill. The Jews consider this woman of no more value than a street dog. The term Jesus uses with her is more indicative of a house dog, a pet that was near the table to clean up the food that dropped to the floor. Her indication that she only desired the scraps spoke of a great faith and trust in God. 

Then there were the people who gathered with those in need of physical healing. Lame, blind, crippled, mute and many others came to receive healing from the hands of Jesus. From what we can gather there were not just a few. Jesus had been there three days. The people, with nothing to eat, would be hungry and weak. We might relate after battling an illness that leaves us weak. We are not ready for a journey, especially not on foot. 

What does Jesus do? He has compassion. It was more than giving them the healing they needed. It was giving them food to strengthen them. Once again Jesus multiplies food provided to feed a vast number of people. And, again, He has what is left gathered. 

How often had we failed to show compassion? When I look at the world around us I see a lot of anger and bitterness. Many people demand their rights and their ways but do not take time to listen to other people. When was the last time you sat down with someone, maybe someone you didn’t know, to ask them how they were doing – and then listened to them?  

Too often, we treat people as dogs. Instead of compassion we show contempt. Instead of conversation we stand as judge. Rather than looking at them we focus on our phones or computers or television. What if we were to give them but a crumb of our time? If God were to give to us as we give to others, how would we stand? 

I also wonder how often we waste God’s provisions. Think of all we have. What do we do with it? Our homes and basements are full so we fill our garages with stuff. When there is no longer room in the garage we build sheds or rent storage facilities and put things in there.  We might not see these things for several years. Even the churches are guilty of this as they put away funds for leaner years. In the meantime, how many people have not heard the Good News about Jesus’ death for them?  

We fill dumpsters and landfills but people are left empty. We need to show compassion like Jesus did. Do we care? Really, do we care for others? Then how might we better show that care to them? 

Reach out your hand. Give them some time. Sit and listen. And then share the hope you have. Tell them about a man named Jesus Who was compassionate enough that, when He was asked how much He loved us, He spread out His arms upon the cross and died. 

 

PRAYER:  Compassionate Lord, Who loved the woman enough to heal her daughter, and Who cared enough to heal those who came to You, allow us, through Your bountiful provision, to share the hope we have been given. Let us listen, and share Your love and forgiveness at all times, for Your sake. Amen.