A Heart Worth Emulating

“…When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns…” (Matthew 14:13)

I am sure you’ve had those days.

When stress banged on your door. When urgency pounded on your wall. When it felt like everyone wanted a piece of you. Not later but now. Not tomorrow but today. You were just catching your breath when another concern begged for your attention. And before you knew it, you were up and running again. You begged to pause but the world just can’t stop spinning. You are stressed. Anxious. Physically tired. But you needed to work. Or study. Or serve. Not to mention the fact that sometimes you disappoint other people. Then what was just physical fatigue turns into an emotional one. When you struggle to manage the feelings of those who matter to you. When you struggle to manage your own feelings too. Your heart tempts you to simply react. But your mind begs you to respond instead. And so you grit your teeth… and smile. (Not a very nice smile to look at though…)

When you find yourself in the middle of days (or weeks or months) like those, I encourage you to read today’s Gospel and learn from Jesus.

He just learned about the death of John the Baptist. Not only was John his forerunner, he was also his cousin. Jesus may have been very sad. His heart was heavy and his eyes fuzzy.  He needed some time to grieve. He wanted to be by himself. Alone with His Father and away from His crowd. But just like most of us, Jesus found himself interrupted by the many urgent concerns of this temporal life.

“…When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns…” (Matthew 14:13)

I felt that way the past three weeks. My father went through a month-long ordeal in the hospital which culminated in an angioplasty procedure last week. I had a family to care for and work commitments to meet. I had relationships to manage and a business to run. Time was precious, spent carefully to make sure all concerns are addressed. I needed to take a break but the world has other things in mind for me.

So what did I do? I tried to do what Jesus did.

Jesus kept his head. He summoned all the love he could give. He thought less of himself and more of others. He gave and gave and gave until he had nothing else to give.

Did I succeed? Definitely not as much as Jesus.

I was grudgingly giving. Often whiney. Always grouchy. Comforting yet complaining. I am a work in progress in this area. My only consolation is this: God understands.

He’s been there. He knows how it feels. To be stressed. To be tired. To be worried. To be sad. For people to expect much from you.

And because of this, I am encouraged to love the way Jesus loves. To respond the way He responds. To give the way He gives. And it might take a lifetime to emulate the heart of Jesus. But one thing for sure, the effort will all be worth it.

Stay blessed!

Bobby

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