Do you know that one of the best-selling nutritional supplement categories is energy supplements? If you search for energy supplements on Amazon.com, you will find over 8,000 items. It’s the highest number I’ve ever seen on any search result on supplements. What does it tell you?
It tells you that there is a shortage of physical energy and many people rely heavily on supplements. Otherwise, the supplement manufacturers will not produce so many. I often heard about people getting filthy rich selling nutritional supplements. The market is ever-expanding. Why do people buy them?
In a world where food is plenty, why do people still need energy boosters? One of the reasons is many people are eating unhealthy or processed foods, which makes them gain weight without energy. When they feel fatigued, instead of thinking about changing their way of eating, they reach for a quick fix from supplements.
Supplements should be used as supplements but not as substitutes. I take some of the carefully researched essential vitamins and minerals that are known to lack today’s foods because of how we grow them. The Chinese say, “Food is medicine.” So, know what you eat before relying on energy pills.
The more important reason for the lack of energy is internal—spiritual. No matter how well you eat and how many energy pills you take, you will feel quickly exhausted if you lack spiritual nutrition. If you are spiritually nourished, you will feel energetic even if you don’t have time to eat.
There were times Jesus did not have time to eat because he was busy healing and helping people, yet he appeared energetic as if he had eaten a nutritious meal. An example of that is when Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well while the disciples went into the city to buy food. The disciples returned, and the Bible says,
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” (Jn 4:31–32).
At the beginning of this story, Jesus was already tired after a long journey, but now Jesus appeared nourished and satisfied without eating physical food. What did he eat that turned him from being tired to triumph? Let us explore it through today’s scripture lesson.
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper. You are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
The scripture lesson for today is from the Gospel According to Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. (Mk 6:30-34, 53–56).
[This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
This story sounds like when you take your phone to the charger, and suddenly many calls come in. So, you have to make your call plugged into the charger or connected to a battery pack. The question is, what’s the extra battery pack like for humans? Where can we tap into additional energy to keep you going? Let’s take a look.
The passage begins by saying that,
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. (v. 30).
For the first time, mark calls them “apostles” rather than disciples. An apostle, translated from Greek “απόστολος,” means “someone who is sent out.” It can also be translated as “emissary,” “messenger,” or “ambassador.” Jesus used to do the work by himself, but now he is sending them out as apostles.
A disciple is a follower or a learner, but an apostle is a representative of Jesus and the kingdom of God, just like an ambassador representing their country. What they do and say is legally as valid as whom they represent. Now, these apostles came and reported what they had done and taught.
It sounds exciting as they were among the first to send out. Jesus knew they had a busy day, and it’s time to teach them out to rest and recharge their body battery.
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (v. 31).
We read about Jesus working without having time to eat, and then he would go to a deserted place to rest and pray. Now, he is teaching his disciples to do the same. This time the disciples also had experienced having no break and no time to eat. It’s time for them to relax and refresh their energy.
And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. (v. 32).
Jesus took them on a boat to a deserted place across the Sea of Galilee. Based on the latest archeological research, he took them to the Northeast region, away from the busy towns and villages, where they can be by themselves away from people. They took off from near Capernaum, which is in the Northwest.
Looking at the map of the Sea of Galilee, the journey is about five miles away. It’s not so far by foot, but taking a boat would allow them to rest on the way since they were already tired. However, based on the map, this journey is within visual distance along the shore, so people figured out where they were going.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. (v. 33).
I don’t know if the disciples were resting on the boat or watching the crowd moving from town to town along the shoreline. It must be annoying to know that people follow you even though you are going somewhere quiet to take a break. You might want to shout to them from the boat, “Give me a break!” But that’s not how Jesus felt.
As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. (v. 34).
That is the key verse of the entire passage. It’s the secret of where additional energy comes. If you get this verse, you will learn to harness an incredible amount of energy.
Notice it did not say that “Jesus went ashore and saw a great crowd, and he got angry, felt sick and ran away,” but it says that “he had compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” His compassion gives him energy and keeps him going and going—like our beloved Energizer Bunny.
Here is the secret, if you can evoke your compassion, you have unlimited energy. I wouldn’t say literally “unlimited” because even Jesus eventually takes a break from the crowd. Still, your compassion will give you a boost of power, like having an extra power pack to double or triple your energy more than usual.
How do you evoke your compassion? You must see the dire need of people. In Jesus’ case, he saw the dire need of the sheep with a shepherd. A shepherd is a term used in the Hebrew scriptures for leaders. So, Jesus saw the crowd as people without a leader. What were their leaders doing?
Their king, Herod Antipas, was growing fat at the sheep’s expense. Last week, we talked about him, who was intoxicated by his luxurious feasting and partying, and he even beheaded John the Baptist on a whim. The religious leaders also sided with him, ignored the grassroots needs, and even treated them as outcasts.
They were indeed sheep without a shepherd. So, Jesus shepherded them and spent time teaching them a lot more out of his compassion. Compassion comes out of love. Paul said in 1st Corinthians 13 that the first outcome of love is patient, “Love is patient.” If you have love, you have patience and naturally spend more time with them.
Compassion is not pity, as most people think. The word compassion is translated from the Greek word that means “entering someone’s womb.” It’s a word difficult to translate into English because, for the English-speaking world, only women have a womb, but this word also means the bottom of your heart.
In any case, compassion is feeling what another person feels at the bottom of their heart. It’s like getting into someone’s shoes. Jesus stepped in the shoes of the great crowd that journey on foot across the Sea of Galilee to follow him, and he felt they were like sheep without a shepherd looking for a shepherd.
What are you compassionate about? Behavioral scientists have discovered that compassion has a lot of benefits for you. It makes you happy, it boosts your immune systems, and it makes you live longer.
Dr. Emma Seppala, the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, provides a list of “Top 10 Scientific Benefits of Compassion.”
- It makes us happy.
- In fact, it makes us happier than buying things for ourselves.
- It makes us attractive.
- It uplifts everyone around us.
- It spreads like wildfire.
- It boosts our health and longevity.
- It gets us out of a funk.
- It’s the most natural thing.
- It gives us more time.
- It’s good for the environment.
I can summarize the entire list in one word: energy. Compassion gives you the energy to find time and resources to solve the problems you are compassionate about. The question is, how do you find the thing that you are compassionate about?
Like Jesus, just step into other people’s shoes and feel what others feel. Jesus could have focused on his own feeling—he was tired. You cannot have compassion when you are self-focused by thinking about your own feeling, privacy, and personal needs. You have to keep your eyes open on others.
Here’s a good example. On a visit to an island in Korea after the war, Bob Pierce saw many suffering children running on the streets without proper clothes because many fathers died in the war and some mothers were missing. Touched by the plight of those children, he wrote this famous prayer inside the cover of his Bible:
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” ~Bob Pierce
Soon, he founded World Vision in 1950, which has fed and educated 3.5 million children around the world to date. It has also assisted 20.1 million disaster survivors, refugees, and internally displaced people. A small prayer of compassion ends up touching millions of lives.
So, if you want more energy for your life, find your compassion by starting with this simple prayer:
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Jesus’ heart was broken by the things that broke the heart of God. Not only did he shepherd the wandering sheep, but he also gave his life on the cross to break the cycle of suffering, once and for all. So, pray the prayer until your heart is broken by the things that break the heart of God. Isaiah says,
“The Lord gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the LORD
shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.” (Is 40:29–31).
To wait for the Lord means to lean on the Lord or to be one with Him. If we rely only on our human power, we have only so much to spend. It says even youth and young people can fall exhausted. However, if we lean on God, we are connected to the infinite power source, like a cellphone plugged into a charging outlet allowing you to go the extra miles without weary.
When the disciples wondered why Jesus was not hungry after talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, he revealed to them his energy source.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” (Jn 4:34).
When you find your compassion, you will be doing God’s work, and it will become your nourishment and source of infinite energy.
After Jesus fasted for forty days, the devil tempted him to turn stones into loaves of bread to replenish his energy, Jesus said,
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mat 4:4).
It means physical food is not our only source of energy, but there is another type of food that we must eat: the word of God. To eat God’s word is to lean on God. King David and King Solomon did it all the time, and they found it delicious. It is the power pack for you to keep on keeping on beyond flesh can sustain. So, plug into God’s infinite power by always having this prayer in your heart.
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest profound happiness. Amen!