By Dr Edward Tamale -Sali
“What do you have in your hand,” Jesus asked. They said, “Seven loaves of bread.” God multiplied it and fed thousands of people. They ate and there was a surplus!
There are two recorded incidents in the New Testament where Jesus had compassion on the multitudes after a long day listening to Him and miraculously fed them out of almost nothing.
He multiplied those few loaves of bread and used it to feed more than 20,000 people including women and children.
The first recorded event happened in Matthew. We have looked at this topic in our series in the previous editions of Good News.
Matthew 14:21 (KJV): “And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”
The second event is recorded in the Mark 8:1-6,9 (KJV): “In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto Him, and said unto them, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat.
“And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far’. And his disciples answered Him, ‘From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?’ And He asked them, ‘How many loaves have ye?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’ And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and He took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to His disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and He sent them away.”
Jesus is a compassionate God. He cares about you and me. Compassion means feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others.
For example, someone may say: “I allowed him to go home on compassionate grounds.” Jesus shares your concerns more than yourself and any other person.
He knows when you are in pain. He knows when you are alone when nobody cares about you. We need to realize this and believe it. This is faith.
I remember a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. She was about to be killed. The stones were up and those angry religious people and the crowd had already passed a death sentence to her.
But when Jesus arrived, He reversed the situation, and this woman went home rejoicing. Her tears were turned into dancing (Psalms 30). In the same way, these so many people including women and children were fed by Jesus.
The disciples were only complaining (olugambo in Luganda). Do you know somebody who only complains about everything that passes their eyes?
Do you know of somebody who complains about people and has no solution? Complaining will not solve a problem. Compassion will go very far to help the situation.
God wants each one of us to show compassion to people. God wants us to run an extra mile. What about those street kids we pass by daily? What about that lonely widow in your village? What about that blind person you pass by daily? What have you done to such people in need?
God wants His Church to stretch their hands towards the weak in our societies. James 1:27 defines this as true religion.
In 1974 when I had just qualified as a doctor, I wanted to visit my pastor in Canada. Pr Hugh Layzell and his wife had been deported by former president Idi Amin.
Incidentally, Pr Layzell just died in October 2021). I wanted to see him as he had made an impact on my life and many others.
I wanted to say “thank you” before I could start my internship and a long hard road as a doctor. When I arrived in Brussels with my nephew Dr John Lubega, we realized we had no ticket to fly to Canada. We did not even have a ticket to return to Uganda.
As I started panicking at the front desk of the ticket office, one Belgian man we never knew of heard our panic and got concerned.
To cut the long story short, he paid our return tickets to Canada and back to Uganda. This was compassion in action. He never expected anything back.
He later visited us in Uganda in 1975 just before completing our internship. We took him to our Church. He commented as he was leaving back to Brussels: “I wish I had your Jesus!”
In 1981 when I got married in London, he came and brought gifts to me and my wife. This was a compassionate human being I had never seen.
I do not know your situation but when you start looking at other people’s needs, God will for sure multiply your stocks to heights and the sky will have no limit.
Remember Jesus left Heaven to come to us because He is a compassionate God (John 3:16). Jesus looked at this crowd of 4,000 people and stretched out His hand and everybody ate and got satisfied; each took home a pack of leftovers for the next day meal.
Never waste God’s resources; take it home and bless other people with it. People who never attended this meeting also got blessed and heard about Jesus and what He had done.
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