By Melinda Mattson
“Any time you say, ‘That fed me, that nourished me,’ someone was the broken bread for your fulfillment.” ~Jen Hatmaker (Interrupted)
I vividly remember an autumn day when I left my morning Bible study as weary as when I arrived. It was no fault of the material, the facilitator, or the setting. It had everything to do with the season I was in.
In my arms I carried my newborn baby girl, Ainsley, who hadn’t yet learned the advantages of sleeping through the night. When she was awake, she needed everything from me, as babies do. Yet my time was divided since I also had a precocious three-year-old daughter, Emerson, who hadn’t yet learned the advantages of willingly welcoming a sister into the fold. She needed everything from me, as three-year-olds do. In my sleep-deprived state, I felt incapable, empty, and defeated.
The equipping pastor came up to me and asked how I was doing. Although I carefully told her I was doing well, she saw my unspoken need. She said, “Isn’t it amazing how you can love someone so much and yet still long for some time away from them?” My eyes brimmed with tears as I nodded. She took me by the arm and guided me to the prayer chapel.
She dimmed the lights and invited me to lie down. Oh, I couldn’t do that, I told her. Emerson was still in child care, and I needed to pick her up. She said she would let the child care staff know they’d have my child a little longer. A few moments later, she returned to the chapel, where she turned on quiet worship music and offered to hold Ainsley.
As I handed over my baby, my tears fell freely. The pastor handed me a plate of fruit. She prayed Scripture-laden prayers directly into my daughter’s ear, and again encouraged me to lie down since I was sitting upright and obviously uncomfortable with shirking my job to meet all the needs. She saw how much I needed to surrender my sense of duty to my children, to accept her offering of help without guilt.
As I lay back, she gently welcomed me to soak in God’s presence. I lay on the couch, tears rolling down the sides of my face as I heard her praying. The music soothed me. I even slept for a few moments, blanketed in peace.
I spent about forty-five minutes in the chapel. The pastor later told me our time together had blessed her too. Her simple offering of rest happened because she took the time to see my weariness and hunger and offered herself to me. Because of that offering, she was blessed to be a blessing.
“…and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish” (Mark 6:43 NIV).
In Mark Chapter 6, Jesus fed five thousand people with one boy’s lunch. Everyone ate and there were twelve baskets left over. Some commentators suggest the baskets belonged to the twelve disciples. Take in that symbolism for a moment. Jesus prayed over what they had (five loaves and two fish), and it became more than enough for a multitude. So much more that each disciple walked home with a basket filled with more than what he brought with him.
This is how it works in God’s economy. When we are willing vessels and offer rest to the weary and manna to the hungry, we leave with more than we brought.
Lord, help us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and broken bread for the hungry and weary among us. You meet our every need and have shown us that we cannot out-give you. Give us eyes to see, ears to truly listen, and hearts to willingly offer nourishment to those who could use some warm manna in their day. Amen
Scripture for Reflection
“[The Fellowship of the Believers] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42 NIV).
Reach for More
This week’s challenge is about being available to see the needs of others we encounter and to offer ourselves to them. Each day, pray for the Spirit to open your eyes to see even unspoken weariness in those you encounter and to allow you the privilege to offer support to them. Remember, whatever you lovingly sacrifice, whether time or material goods or emotional support, is true worship and will not leave you empty.
Precious friends, we can do this. Bravely seek out the weary and offer them a bit of rest. Even a few moments of listening ears and open arms can change someone’s entire day and nourish her profoundly.
Offering even a small sacrifice of time pleases God and is worshipful.
Please, come back and leave a comment telling us about how God spoke to you this week, or share your progress on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. We would love to hear from you.
Melinda Mattson will follow any sign that leads to the promise of vintage décor and repurposed treasures. As a wife and mom to two dear daughters, her home is filled with equal measures of sugar and spice. She loves kindness and Jesus and is glad they’re meant to come as a package deal. She aims to embrace both with equal fervor. Melinda blogs at www.melindamattson.com.
Photograph by, Greg Seymour.