Wed, May 20, 2020

Sent to the Marginalized

Hey Anthem Fam!

We mentioned a couple weeks ago that we’d be inviting some more voices in to this devotional space as the weeks and months go on, so I’m going to introduce you to Meredith Wash. Meredith has been a part of Anthem for the last couple years and, with her husband Garrison leads our young adult ministry. They have dreams of church planting and seeing Jesus’ name proclaimed to the next generations. Meredith has a compassionate heart and some amazing gifting to back it up. She has been overseeing our response team since the dawn of Covid-19 and has done an amazing job building connections in the community and engaging Anthem on mission! So, we asked her to write a devo on being “sent to the marginalized”. 

We will pick up the final session of the Lord’s Prayer on Friday!

Matt and Kristen

Scripture: Matthew 14:10-21

Good Morning, Anthem! My name is Meredith and if we haven’t met yet, let’s change that soon! I was born and raised in Thousand Oaks, but also lived in Nashville for 5 years, where I attended Belmont University and met my husband, Garrison.

One of my favorite things about Jesus is his radical compassion for people. I get super excited about the reality that we’re invited to partner with Him in bringing hope to those around us. Alan Scott says it beautifully in his book, Scattered Servants:

The dream of God over your life is not that you become a believer and help out the local church. The dream of God over your life is that you come alive in His presence and bring life to every environment, spilling contagious hope into hurting humanity. —Alan Scott

Take a couple minutes and read Matthew 14:13-21, the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. 

Now, look closely at verse 13. Before reading ahead to Jesus feeding the crowds it is important to note that first, he withdrew. Why? Glance back to Matthew 14:10-12. Jesus received some really difficult news that was, no doubt, extremely burdensome. Here we see the dependence Jesus had on the Father throughout his ministry. 

Exercise #1 - Be with the Father. 

Even the most naturally-compassionate person cannot sustain a life of deep compassion in his or her own strength. Spend some time this morning withdrawing to a desolate place just like Jesus did. What pains has this season brought up in your life? What burdens are you carrying? Write them down or pray them out loud and give them to God. 

Now read Matthew 14:14. Jesus had compassion on them. It was compassion that compelled him to heal the sick and miraculously feed the five thousand. 

Exercise #2 – Prepare your heart for a day that is fueled by compassion. 

A pastor I admire once shared that before starting each day, he spends some time in meditation, preparing his heart for whatever the day might hold and whoever he might encounter. Close your eyes and spend two minutes meditating on God’s outrageous compassion for you. Picture His compassion coming towards you, washing over you like a huge title wave. Reflect on Christ’s work on the cross, how he paid the ultimate price for you. Then, spend a few minutes picturing that same compassion going out towards the world, from you. As you meditate on God’s deep compassion for you, allow the Spirit to stir a deep compassion for others within you. 

Continue reading to the end of the passage, paying close attention to verses 18 and 19. 

Jesus breaks the bread and blesses it, then passes it to the disciples who distribute it to the crowds. There’s a duality in this moment where Jesus meets both the physical and spiritual needs of the crowd. Over and over again in the scriptures, we see Jesus healing infirmities, providing sustenance and performing miracles, but always pointing to the ultimate remedy—hope in himself. 

Who are the “crowds” in your life at the moment? Think outside the box of what might be comfortable. How might God want to use you to meet their physical needs? What pains might they be wrestling with in their soul and how does the Gospel speak to those needs? 

Begin today basking in the endless love God has for you, then carry it boldly into the spaces in which you find yourself today. Have a blessed day!