Balancing Needs

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Rest, Strength, Trials

The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:30-34 ESV)

I love what Jesus says after the apostles come back from their preaching journeys. “Come away by yourselves and rest a while,” He says. Take some time to rest and relax. Step away from the burdens you carry. Come with Me and have some peace.

Jesus Himself needed some time to be alone. King Herod had just murdered His cousin John the Baptist. Besides the grief of losing a relative, there was the fact that John’s death was a road sign pointing to Jesus’ own death. “This happened to me,” it said. “This is what will happen to you.”

So Jesus took His disciples and crossed the lake, looking for a quiet spot to be alone. But even for Jesus it didn’t work out. The crowds saw them leaving, and they chased them around the lake. When Jesus and the disciples got to their quiet place, it wasn’t quiet anymore! There were oodles of people waiting for them, begging for help, needing care. I imagine there were a lot of sighs on that boat, as the disciples saw what was waiting for them.

Still, Jesus had mercy on those people, just as He did on His disciples. Why? Because His heart went out to them—they were like sheep without a shepherd. He had to juggle three sets of needs—His own, His disciples’, and the crowds. Sound familiar? I bet it does. We balance needs all the time—our own, our families’, our workplaces … sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes we get it right, but we’re still overwhelmed. The needs are too great, and we are too small.

Jesus knows that. He’s been through it Himself. And so He gives Himself completely for us, laying down His own life to meet our needs—first through His years of living and working and teaching and preaching and healing, and then through His greatest act of suffering, dying, and rising again. He gave Himself for us, that we might live—even when we are overburdened, overstretched, over-matched, in every way.

And now through the Holy Spirit He gives Himself to us, to become our strength and our wisdom, to become our compassion on others when we have nothing left. He lives through us—as Paul says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV). And when He comes again in glory, we will rejoice together to see all the good things He has done—His Spirit working in us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me when I am not enough. You are enough for me and the people I care for. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Republished with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Reflection Questions:
1. What competing needs do you balance in your life?
2. What do you do when you feel like you are not enough to meet a need you’re facing?
3. Tell about a time Jesus helped you when you were at the end of your rope.


Balancing Needs