Caring for people is NOT a part of where we are going…

Caring for people

image: Gary Dee on Wikimedia Commons

I often struggle with what I call “the balance.”  I want to be genuine and active in caring for people, but I also want to be productive in the variety of responsibilities that I have as a husband, dad, Pastor, friend, son, etc.  I don’t want to neglect one for the sake of the other.  Is it just me, or do you know what I’m talking about?

Previously I mentioned a conversation I had with my oldest daughter last week.  Another thing that came out of that conversation was this statement…

Caring for people is not a part of where we are going… where we are going is a part of caring for people.

That statement shocked me… mainly because it came out of my own mouth!  I was surprised that I’d never seen the issue that clearly before, and that in that very moment the LORD was giving me clarity in an area I’ve long struggled.

I think what the LORD was trying to get me to see is this:

  • The future, my goals, desired outcomes… those are not to be the thing I should be aiming at.  That doesn’t mean I should neglect planning and goal-setting… but it does mean that I have to learn to think differently about those things.
  • People are much more important than things, yes, even those things. If I am side-stepping or neglecting people in my attempts to reach my goals, then I’m way off track.

Moving diligently toward my goals, whatever they may be is something I should do AS I care for people – not the other way around.

Jesus’ example in this is HUGE.  Just this morning I was reading Matthew 9:18-26.  Jesus was with His disciples when a man who had just lost his daughter to death crashed their dinner.  He begged Jesus to come touch her so that she’d live.  Jesus didn’t let any agenda (or perceived agenda) stop him from helping the man.  He rose and went with the man immediately.

But that’s not the end of the story.  On the way to the man’s house, a woman who had been suffering from a discharge of blood for 12 years snuck up behind Jesus and touched His robe, believing she’d be healed if she could only do that.  She was healed.  And Jesus stopped.  He turned to encourage the woman’s faith and add a personal touch to the miracle.

Caring for people – it’s tough to do for a variety of reasons.  But one thing the LORD is teaching me is to NOT let there be a false competition between caring for people and setting and accomplishing goals.

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4 thoughts on “Caring for people is NOT a part of where we are going…

  1. This is an interesting perspective, and I totally agree with you. However, I think it’s also worthwhile to consider Jesus’s actions in Mark 1. A bunch of people wanted him to heal them and to provide for them. He essentially said no and moved on to other places – to fulfill his mission and his goals and the reason he was sent. While that initially sounds totally counter to what you’re saying, I think there’s a clarification that helps reconcile the positions. I think there’s a difference between truly caring for people and just doing what they want you to do. There’s a difference between lovingly serving people’s needs and responding to their selfish demands. The people in Mark 1 wanted to make Jesus a king so that they never had to worry again. It was ultimately a selfish motivation.

    • Great point Loren! Your clarification is very helpful and needed. I wonder too if Jesus’ responses in the passage you noted had to do with His omniscience… know what they truly needed VS what they wanted? Or perhaps knowing what the Father’s will was for those individuals VS what their will was. What do you think?

      • I think in Luke 4, we get the perspective that this crowd wasn’t really interested in Christ as the Messiah, but as the healer and the miracle worker that could set them up for a life of ease. I think perhaps that has something to do with it. Your thoughts?

      • Yes, I’ve always been instructed by Jesus’ perceptivity… which comes “naturally” when you are God! The point you made in your first comment rings true… He was TRULY caring for them… as they needed.

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