Today’s Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8
Can’t you see them? There in the sunshine of a field ripe with grain, the disciples are happily walking with their teacher, He is feeding their bodies, minds and hearts. They reach out and touch the fruit of the land. It is a perfect Sabbath day, filled with peace.
But then the Pharisees pop-up like some school-yard bully, “Look! Teacher—look what they are doing!”
The motive is so simple. “His disciples were hungry.” The action so pure. “(They) began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.”
The Pharisees are the ultimate negative tattle-tales, always on the lookout for what someone—especially Jesus and His disciples—are doing wrong. How exhausting!
So the wise teacher steps in with a lesson. Something greater is here. Jesus always responds with compassion to need. It is so concrete in the gospels. Students cannot learn when they are hungry. Their basic needs must be satisfied before their hearts are open to the truth of the lesson. Jesus has no compassion for the actions of the Pharisees. “If you had known what these words mean, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” Jesus asks for mercy.
How often do I condemn others, looking not at the simplicity or motivation of their actions, but how it looks to me. Whether real or imagined, I exhaust myself as the list offenses grows—look what they did! By seeing the perceived wrong, and hardening my heart to the reality of mercy, I not only deny my neighbor’s spiritual hunger, but I grow farther away from the one who can save me. I condemn the innocent and neglect to see what is right in front of me. “Look! It is the Lord of the Sabbath!”
How often have I been quick to judge my neighbor and missed the chance to show them Jesus?
Lord, help me to act with mercy towards the hunger in those around me, especially my family and friends. Let me be Jesus for them today, feeding them with Your love.
Copyright 2018 Cathy Knipper
Cathy G. Knipper is a wife to Jim and mother to three adult children. Last year the Lord transplanted her from Boston, MA to Amish County, PA where she is finding her way amid cornfields and farmers markets.
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