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Matthew 14:13-14

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Jesus’ cousin (John the Baptist) had just been beheaded. Jesus wanted some time to himself so he jumped in a small boat and took off. He had garnered quite a following by this time and wherever He went, they went. Did the crowd decide to track Him down on this particular occasion because they were concerned over the loss of His cousin? The Scripture doesn’t say, but I doubt it. More likely, they just wanted to stay close to where all the action was. “Bible-times Paparazzi.”

I’ve always been amazed by Jesus’ patience. He wants to be alone, but the crowds show up and interrupt Him. As a result, He rains down hail and lightening for their transgression and wipes them all out. Not quite. He had compassion on them and healed their sick. He valued them more than He valued Himself. It reminds me of Matthew 20:28 where He said “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This is a tough one if you are a parent.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been doing something (like writing a devotional) when one of our four children comes over and wants my attention. You know where this is going, don’t you? My usual response is, “Just a minute” or “I’ll be done in a little bit” or “Let me finish up and then I’ll talk to you.” Jesus had compassion…I blow my own children off.

“But Steve! Kids need to learn good manners! It’s not polite to interrupt people when they are busy!”

Find me one time in Scripture where Jesus used that as a reason to ignore the crowds, or the rich young ruler, or the woman at the well, or the woman caught in adultery, or that little tax collector up in a tree. Jesus knew what most of us desperately need to learn: Attention = Love. Not after I’m done taking care of ME or THIS or THAT…but now. YOU are more important to me NOW.

Most of us are too busy, too anxious, too uptight, to self-centered, and too obsessed with the things of this world to be able to STOP for just a few minutes and give ourselves to somebody else. Jesus did it all the time. We should, too.

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