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Career guidance (2)

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. (1) And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. (2) Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they pass out on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to satisfy so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 15: 29-38

Last week GCSE results were published. How very important these are. The planned career path can go forward – or it has to be re-examined. What should be the over-arching guiding principles for a student to consider when choosing what to do during the lifetime ahead? Is it to follow their own aptitudes and abilities – the gifts – already evident in them? Or is it to follow a career path that will pay well? Or something else?

Matthew reports that, on one occasion (see bold above), Jesus went up the mountain near Lake Galilee. What happened on that mountain in many ways summarises Jesus career – his working life. “Great crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he healed them…..”

‘No marvel that our sorrows are multiplied when our sins are.’ (Matthew Henry, Bible Commentator, 1662-1714)

Jesus’ career was devoted to the good of others. Does what one might do for others feature in today’s careers guidance? Will you be of real help to others if you choose this job? Will you devote your life to healing others?

Could there be a better career objective than that – an even greater work?

Matthew records (see bold above) that Jesus, having done these many miracles upon for the needy in the huge crowd, says this, “I’m moved with compassion about the entire crowd because they’ve been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. I’m unwilling to allow them to go away without eating, because they may pass away while travelling.”

The disciples ask Jesus. “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to satisfy so great a crowd?” What do you make of their question? A great crowd of unsatisfied people in a desolate world. A few weeks ago the BBC broadcast a three-part series on the Bloomsbury Set - a group of English writers, artists, and thinkers renowned for their influence on modernism and their bohemian lifestyle. Were they satisfied? In their search, free-sex and intellectualism became their daily bread. Did it satisfy when what they saw around them was, in truth, desolate?

When Jesus enquires as to what resources the disciples do have, the answer is “Seven loaves and some mini-fish.” Matthew then seems to want his readers to think beyond the bread and fish because he writes this (literally). Jesus, having given thanks, broke and gave to the disciples and the disciples gave to the crowds and they all ate and were satisfied. Four thousand men – let alone women and children.

Is this amazing miracle – satisfying the deep, life-threatening hunger of all who would sit and eat - is this the most major part of the career plan of Jesus? Is it a career whose overarching objective is to achieve the supreme good, the supreme satisfaction of others?

‘He who thinks he has no need of Christ has too high thoughts of himself. He who thinks Christ cannot help him has too low thoughts of Christ.’ (J M Mason)

The disciples only had seven loaves and a few mini-fish. Those were broken and eaten. When the disciples collected up the broken pieces which were left after all were satisfied, there were seven baskets of broken pieces – for others.

Why the sevens? Why the broken? Seven is often the number of perfection, of completeness.  What was broken upon a cross in AD 30? The broken satisfied all in the crowd. Is his brokenness enough to satisfy all – all the dis-satisfied others? What do YOU think?

Richard Syvret

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