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Compassion for the Crowd

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“In those days there was another large crowd with nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have already been here with me three days, and they have nothing to eat” (Mark 8:1-2 NET).

As I sit in the airport waiting to board my flight to Adana, Turkey, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the immense devastation and suffering ahead of me. The country of Turkey, or Turkiye, was rocked in early February by two back-to-back major earthquakes, and I am deploying to assist Operation Blessing’s international disaster relief team. The thousands of people affected by this disaster have many immediate needs: food, water, shelter, and medical aid. 

It can be easy to feel disheartened and discouraged when we start to think about the significant needs locally in our communities and internationally around the world. But before we lose hope, let us look back to the story in Mark to see how Jesus responds to the needs in front of Him:

“Then he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. After he took the seven loaves and gave thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples to serve. So they served the crowd. They also had a few small fish. After giving thanks for these, he told them to serve these as well. Everyone ate and was satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full” (Mark 8:6-8).

What is Jesus’ response to seeing the hungry people around Him? He meets their immediate need miraculously! 

We see in this passage that genuine compassion for the crowd leads Jesus to action. The same should be true for His followers. We may not have the natural ability to multiply bread and fish on demand, but God has gifted each one of us with time, money, and other resources to use for His glory. When we see a need around us, love and compassion from the Holy Spirit should push us into action. 

Who is the “crowd” in your life that Jesus is calling you to have compassion for? Who has God placed on your heart to help? No matter how daunting the task is at hand, you can find motivation and reassurance that God is calling you to action for His purpose and glory. Remember that the disciples had to begin distributing the food before they could see that the food would not run out. When we step out in obedience and faith with compassion for others, we make room for Jesus to move in miraculous ways. 

Jesus, thank You for your compassion and love for me. This week, show me who You are calling me to meet the needs of specifically. I know You are not overwhelmed by these needs, so give me the boldness to turn my compassion from You into action that points people to who You are. Thank You that I can be a part of Your plan to reach my community and the world! In Your name, I pray. Amen.


New English Translation, NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Benjamin Brittain

Benjamin is the International Disaster Relief Operations Coordinator at Operation Blessing and has been with OB for one year. During this time, he has traveled to Poland to serve Ukrainian refugees and to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane relief. He enjoys brewing specialty coffee, reading, tennis, and spending time with family and friends.

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