Every Sunday, lots of churches preach from the same “lectionary,” which is a schedule of Scriptures appointed for Christian worship on a given day.
So, today, Christians in churches around the world heard the story of Jesus, as told in Matthew 14.
Here’s the short version: Jesus had just heard the news that one of his good buddies, John the Baptist, had his head cut off and served up on a platter. Jesus is looking for a little time alone after hearing this news. Is that too much for the King of the world to ask? So, Jesus hops on a boat, and heads for a break from the hoards of people who have begun to tail him everywhere he goes. Well, folks just can’t let Jesus take a rest, and they make a mad dash to meet him when he reaches the other shore. He arrives to thousands of people.
These demanding pedestrians interrupt Jesus’ well-deserved vacation, as my pastor put it. And Jesus, the Master of Miracles, could have done a quick disappearing act.
But what does he do? He serves somebody.
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14
Soon, the people begin to get hungry, and it’s getting late in the day. Jesus and his disciples take five loaves and two fish and miraculously feed the crowd of more than 5,000. He healed them, and now he’s feeding them.
Today, my family and I leave for a week-long vacation in north-central Minnesota. I’m looking for some quiet time away. I’m hoping to leave all my responsibilities behind. But how will I respond if someone in need interrupts my vacation? Will I, like Jesus, have compassion? Will I serve somebody?
As Bob Dylan says, we’ve all gotta serve somebody. Will I?
“Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,
You may be sleeping on the floor, Sleeping in a king-sized bed
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Yes indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
— Bob Dylan