A Lesson in Humility
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14, ESV)
C.S. Lewis wrote “A Grief Observed,” wherein he explores the processes undergone by the human brain and mind over the course of grieving. We might say, then, that Jesus experienced “A Grief Interrupted” after the death of his cousin, John the Baptist. After he learned of John’s death by the orders of Herod the tetrarch, he determined to go and spend some time alone in an isolated place but when he arrived at his destination a large crowd of people were waiting on him. Even though he was grieving he did not retreat or beg out, asking for a healing “rain-check” but set his own need to grieve and reflect aside and began ministering to their needs. Much later, while St. Paul was in prison in Rome he wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, and he called such a selfless act of service a true attitude of humility.
One of the hardest things we might need to do is to serve others while we are suffering some hardship of our own. The human tendency is to pull away, push others away, consider we are too weak or unfit to help anyone else and think we are the ones who need to be helped, assisted, or ministered to. These are times we may struggle emotionally and spiritually. When those occasions arise, and we are pressed into service Christ will show up to help us as we help others because he knows what that is like.
That we serve or tend to others even when we are not feeling up to it or struggling through something personally does not mean our circumstances, pain, or condition is unimportant or less important it simply means we have accepted the opportunity to enter into the same spirit and attitude of humility Christ embodied during his life and ministry.
What words, phrases, or other parts of the passage speak to your heart right now?
Is there something in this passage or account you can identify with personally?
How have you felt in the past when your grief, sickness, or some other painful condition has been interrupted by the needs of others?
What happens when you consider Jesus’ response to the crowd during his time of grieving his cousin’s death?
How will your faith or attitude be impacted by today’s lesson?
Response: A Prayer of Submission:
God, you know us so well. And you know our tendency is to pull away, or even push others away when we are hurting, grieving, experiencing sickness or pain. The last thing we want to do or have energy to do is serve others at that time. Help us when those occasions arise to remember Jesus’ attitude and spirit of humility, his selfless acts of service, and if it is your will in that moment, and part of your plans for us, give us strength to serve even when we don’t feel up to it emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Amen
Pastor's wife, mother of four adult children, grandmother, Devotional Writer, Biblical Counselor, Mental Health Coach, Women's Life Coach, Avid Encourager of the young and old. Inspiring others to live their best life in Christ. Inspiring new confidence and courage, giving hope, renewing the soul and coming alongside through daily, biblical encouragement.