When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. – Mark 5:21-43
Can we really make a difference in the orphan crisis? Can we really decrease the stranglehold of poverty? Can we save a whole generation from the destructive road of self-focus? These are the questions that pop into our minds when Christ teaches us to love the poor and the lost. We often get caught up in the overwhelming statistics and end up feeling like we cannot possibly make a difference.
In Mark 5, Jesus made a difference in the lives of two different individuals. In the midst of a huge crowd, He reached out and healed two people, changing their lives forever. He could have been concerned with reaching the whole crowd or been overwhelmed by the busyness of His ministry, but He chose to focus on just two people in need and gave them hope.
Throughout His lifetime, Jesus was focused on the individual. He healed the blind and paralyzed, took time to be with children, and freed the demon possessed. We can make a difference in the lives of others one life at a time. God may not call us as students to end the AIDS epidemic or provide food to every person on the planet, but He has given us the resources to bring His healing and hope to individuals.
Research: How Do I Fit?
Today we’re starting to get practical. Choose one organization that you’re going to volunteer with or donate to. Learn exactly what that process looks like. If you’re donating, are you going to give a one-time gift or are you going to set up regular donations? Many organizations have different areas you can donate to; which one do you want your money to go to? If you are volunteering, look into the prerequisites for donating your time. Do you have to go through an orientation? Do you need to fill out any paperwork or make an appointment to volunteer? Make sure you have all the information you need in order to spend yourself well.
Activity: Because He First Loved Us
We’re going to continue reflecting today, but we’re going to narrow it down a little bit. Set aside some time today to think and journal. Begin by reading 1 John 4:19. Then think about what is meant in that verse by “love.” How do you define love? What does it mean to act with love? What does the love of Jesus look like, and how do we show that love to others? Journal about all these questions and any others you think of. Focus your journaling on why and how we love, and how love is related to compassion.