Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard (that John the Baptist had been beheaded), 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. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.
It strikes me that Jesus didn’t have time to grieve the loss of John the Baptist. He tried to retreat, but the people just followed him. Why? Because they were desperate. So Jesus set aside his own needs and ministered to the people.
If you’re a leader, this has probably happened to you. Whether you lead a family or a team at work or even a church, sometimes we sacrifice our own needs for the sake of others. One family in the church I lead had ongoing illness in the house for weeks. The two parents were up many nights caring for sick children, getting close to exhaustion themselves.
I see others caring for aging spouses or family members. In these cases the issue isn’t one of growing tired in days or weeks, but more like months or years. I see this happening with a number of people in my own family. I wonder if one day my loved ones will have to care for me that way, I don’t know.
However this situation unfolds, when we give of ourselves for the sake of others we are following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus. We are giving what the bible refers to as “agape” – the Greek word describing love that sacrifices for another. It’s the kind of love Jesus has shown to us in dying and rising, so that we too might become children of God.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your grace, your care, your love for us. Give us strength that we too might give of ourselves for the sake of others. Amen.