“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:32)
They were still there! Think about it— the crowd had been with Jesus for three days, eaten through their entire food supply, now edging toward collapse, and they were still there. What draw could possibly be so compelling? What craving of the spirit could outweigh any hunger of the stomach?
Physical hunger is a powerful force; we reach a point where we would do virtually anything to assuage it. Yet there abides in humankind another kind of need, a yearning of the soul that gnaws at us; life is empty until this need is fed, until this thirst is slaked.
What was it about Jesus that satisfied the crowds? Of course, they feasted on His miracles, His display of compassion with power: the lame walked, the blind saw, and the mute spoke. Surely they tasted of His wisdom and truth, the “soul food” of their innermost longing. He was to them the savory blend of understanding, power and care, feeding the body, soul and spirit—the whole meal “bread of life” nourishing the entire person.
So He sends us likewise to serve people all around us every day. We stop neither at the stomach nor the soul, for God cares about every aspect of every person.
God, all around me are people who hunger, some in their stomachs, some in their souls. Open my eyes to see, and my heart to care. Open my hands to serve, and my mouth to speak. Today. Amen.
[Read today’s Scripture in Matthew 15:29-32.]