Every Opportunity

“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.  

“Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ And they said to him, ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’ And when they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.  So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.  And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:30-46

Jesus was never scattered. His time was filled, but his schedule was flexible. He was pressed on every side, but never in a hurry. He spent himself for others, but always drew away to his Father for refilling. Because he prioritized time alone in prayer, he was able to recognize and fulfill every opportunity put before him.

Opportunities abound in the days of a believer to give out to others, and so give out of strength. There are people and situations that are hard, unyielding. There are urgencies that clamor for our attention, where we need patiently to “begin to teach.” Many are hungry, lost, confused, and when we look to Jesus, He makes a way for us to minister His life, nourishment, solace, and love.

Are we so scheduled, with so little margin, that we have no heart room for compassion, no time at day’s end to feed the famished? Do we dismiss crowds because we have a crowded house, or hours, already? And when our days are full, do we make it a priority to get alone with Jesus? He is life-giving, always sufficient.

Lord, connect the synapses of my mind and the sinews of my hands to the needs of your people. Keep my eyes open to see, and my feet willing to seize, every opportunity You put before me to be Jesus to others.

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