Kindness in the midst of "me time"
Now when Jesus heard this (that John the Baptist had been killed), he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. ~ Matthew 14:13-21
When this scene opens, Jesus is in terrible need of alone time after learning that his cousin John has been executed by Herod. Yet, as always, the crowds press in.on him.
Instead of being annoyed by them, we are told that Jesus has compassion for them - and then he feeds them - much more than 5000 people (since only men were counted).
As much as Jesus needed some "me" time, "they" came first.
Others came before himself.
On our best days it isn't always easy to be kind. Over the past year and a half during the pandemic, there were days when grief and worry seemed so strong that it felt impossible to think of anyone's needs by my own. I just wanted to pull up the drawbridge and retreat into my fortress of solitude.
Yet Jesus always, always reminds me that it isn't about me.
It's about US.
Jesus is there pulling the drawbridge down and setting us loose from our self-imposted exile, reminding us that kindness, mercy, and compassion can be shared even in the hardest of times.
Holy God, move me toward justice, mercy, and humility in all my dealings with your people. Amen