Luke 9:11 But the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
In Matthew’s account we learn that Jesus went to Bethsaida to collect his thoughts and feelings after John the Baptist’s execution, (Matthew 14:13) but Luke specifies that when the crowds caught up with Him He welcomed them. (The Japanese says, “He rejoiced to receive them.”) We don’t identify very well with that level of self-sacrificial commitment. Jesus was all about doing His Father’s will, whatever that meant. After talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, He indicated that doing God’s will was as satisfying as a good meal. (John 4:32-34) This is yet another extension of what it means to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) Sometimes our needs are met in the very seeking! In contrast, we tend to categorize our “needs” and then tack “religious things” on somewhere at the end. Jesus made it very clear that is counterproductive, and Paul and others certainly discovered that to be true. It is just as true today, but society and the devil do all they can to convince us otherwise. Much of the confusion in our lives is eliminated when we get our priorities straight. First, God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Second, everything else, even including what we think of as “essentials.” We need to believe that God is more than able to supply our needs, whatever they are, and so seek Him rather than seeking those needs for themselves. That is completely counter to the way the world operates, so it takes not only faith, but daily re-commitment in order to stay on track. That’s a major reason why daily morning devotions are so important.
This is a lesson that has really been drummed into me, but I’m still learning it even so. The devil is forever telling me I “need” all sorts of things. Sometimes they are things God wants me to have, but even in those cases I am to seek Him first. In the final analysis He is all I need, and indeed, all I will have as I leave this earth. As He told Paul, His grace is sufficient for us, (2 Corinthians 12:9) After all, in Christ I have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Colossians 2:3) and indeed, all things. (2 Peter 1:3) I tell people all the time that God is not stingy, but I am still learning how generous He really is. It is only when I let the world and the devil define my needs that I fail to see that.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your abundant provision of everything I need. Thank You for the good report at the hospital yesterday, that there is really nothing to be anxious about. (Actually, that would have been the case even if it had turned out to be an aggressive melanoma, but I’m thankful that it wasn’t.) Thank You for the contacts and opportunities for ministry that You are giving us at the gallery show. Thank You for the mother with the handicapped child who was so open to the Gospel. I ask You to bring us together again, so that I can follow up. Thank You for the old friends who are coming by, both Christians and non-Christians. Thank You for the songs we can sing to express Your Gospel that way. I pray that the remaining five days of the exhibit would produce the results You desire, drawing many into Your kingdom for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!