So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke – like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. (Mark 6: 32 – 34)
Two things Bob hated to do: go to the dentist and deal with the motor registry. He’d already had his semi-annual dental check-up. Now he had to visit the motor registry. Bob’s sister-in-law was having a hard time and needed a car to get to work and ferry her kids around. So Bob decided to fix up his old car for her to use. It didn’t take much to get it running, but registering it would require a trip to the motor registry.
The assistant at the motor registry was really snotty, and Bob felt demeaned. He wanted to get snotty right back, but he realised it wouldn’t help the situation any. So he got his attitude under control and began to see her as somebody who was just having a bad day and needed a little affirmation. He put on a smile and commented on how well she knew the proper forms and procedures. He ignored her rudeness and joked about his old car, admitted to being flummoxed by all the paperwork, and thanked her repeatedly for her help and expertise. In time she softened, and before long she was smiling along with Bob.
The world is full of needy people. We’re easily tempted to see them as a drag on our time and our energy. But it’s very possible that God gives us the resources we have to lend them a helping hand. They are, in some ways, like sheep without a shepherd. All they need is a little kindly shepherding.