When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick- Matthew 14:14
We were sharing stories about our mother with the pastor who would speak at her funeral. My brother recalled a time of brokenness in his life. He said that after he’d poured out his sorrows to Mom she said gently, “I wonder if you are doing enough to help other people.”
The story of John’s gruesome death in the first part of Matthew 14 has few if any redeeming elements. A brave prophet is beheaded. A young girl Salome is objectified before men. Herod goes against his conscience to save his reputation and his vengeful wife acts on a grudge against John whose advice has struck a little too close to home.
To learn something from this tragic story we need to keep reading and see how Jesus responded to news of his beloved friend John’s horrific death. Jesus goes out in a boat alone to grieve but crowds follow him. When his boat reaches the shore there they are. Jesus begins to heal people and when he finds out they are hungry he performs a miracle so they have food. In his time of brokenness Jesus does exactly what my Mom advised my brother to do, “help other people.”
My Mom dealt with serious health issues for over thirty years. Yet the stories of people she served and supported with her love and care during that time could fill a book. When we face times of brokenness in our lives it may be that the best and most crucial question to ask is…. “What can I do to help other people?”