We often think of patience when it comes to Job. We think of all the trouble that happened to him by the hands of Satan and we think “What a patient man!” But not only was job a patient man but he was also a troubled, sorrowful, and confused man. As is often the case in times of trial some folks will come along and attempt to give some measure of comfort. Sadly many of us fail miserably at doing so: Job’s friends where no different. In Job 16:2 job replies to what they had said by claiming, “I have heard many such things;” but then said, “Miserable comforters are you all!”
In contrast Jesus looks upon the horde of souls that that followed Him and was “moved with compassion toward them” (Matthew 14:14). So he healed their sicknesses and fed them with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Unlike Job’s friends Jesus was not accusatory toward the masses. He did not suggest that their sicknesses where punitive for some unknown (or known) sin. He did not suggest that they had been negligent in preparation and send them away hungry. He did not throw their past up in their faces.
We all need to be comforted from time to time. None of us is so strong and untouchable that we will not feel the need for compassion. But what I do appreciate about Job’s friends (that is not often the case with us today) is at least they were there! They may not have done it right, and they may have been miserable comforters, but they were there for him. Unfortunately we are often to busy with our own lives to stop and help the friend in need. So what can we learn from Jesus about doing it right?
Don’t Look Away! When Jesus looked upon the multitude He could have just as easily (or more easily) just looked the other way and ignored their suffering. He could have been like the Priest and the Levite in Luke 10 who looked and the “passed by on the other side.” In John 4:35 Jesus tells His disciples to “lift up your eyes and look” and we need to do the same. There are people all around us who are suffering: physically, mentally, financially, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually.
Open Your Heart! Jesus was genuinely sorry and was filled with sympathy and empathy for the hungry, the sick, the sorrowful, and the sinful. He has looked upon all of us and has borne our grief and carried away our sorrow (Isaiah 53:4). Jesus cares! And in order for us to be like Him we must have the same kind of compassion for others (Colossians 2:1–5; Colossians 3:12–14).
Do Something About The Need! In Matthew 14 Jesus ordered His disciples to give the people something to eat. He surveyed the available resources and systematically distributed the food. But not only did He fill them He was also a good steward for He has them gather up the leftovers. There is always something we can do. There is always a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a directional instruction, or a word fitly spoken.
What are you doing to be more like Christ? Obey Him, be compassionate, and be faithful.