It was a Saturday morning, and the coffee shop was crowded.
Servers scurried about, delivering hot plates of hash, avocado toast, and other delights. Patrons chatted, cupping warm mugs of coffee in their hands.
I sat across from a friend, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a long time. I drove three hours the night before to spend the weekend at her place, as sort of a mini “mom escape.” She listened intently as I shared what God had been showing and speaking. I was at a major crossroads and experiencing somewhat of a crisis of faith.
At some point in our conversation, she began to wave excitedly to someone behind me. “You need to meet someone!” she said, and got up hurriedly.
I stood and watched as my friend swooped in and hugged a middle-aged woman. “This is my friend, Katie,” she introduced me.
The stranger pulled me in for a hug before I could even squeak out the words, “Nice to meet you.” When she let go, I noticed her piercing eyes that seemed to stare straight into my soul. She wasted no time with small talk and, despite the crowds all around us, I could tell I had every ounce of her full attention.
I don’t exactly remember the words we spoke that day— I only remember feelings. In the following moments God used her to breathe life and healing into me again. As my friend and I returned to our table, I blinked away tears. For the first time in a long time I truly felt seen.
Have you ever had an encounter that was life changing in ways you can’t explain? That’s what I experienced that day. It’s also the kind of encounter we read about, at the end of Matthew 20.
The disciple Matthew shares about an event that took place as Jesus’ days of ministry were coming to an end. He says “they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.”
The crowd approaches two blind men who are begging on the side of the road. When the blind men hear the crowd coming they inquire and learn that it is none other than Jesus, the healer they’ve heard about.
“Lord, have mercy on us!” they waste no time crying out. The crowd, largely uncaring about the beggars’ condition, attempts to hush them so they can carry on. But the men continue to call out, desperate for Jesus’ attention. Maybe, just maybe, the Healer can help them.
There are five words in this story that grip my heart. The first two are, “Jesus stopped.” Just consider that for a second. Jesus, a man with a lengthy and arguably important to-do list stops for these two men whom everyone else walked by. He doesn’t assume they want his money, like everyone else. He asks them what they need.
Acknowledging them, alone, probably spoke volumes to their spirits. But Jesus goes beyond that. The next three words that stick out in this story are that Jesus was “moved with compassion…” Moved with compassion. He didn’t stop at sympathy. He was moved to touch their eyes. Moved to impart healing.
This entire encounter likely cost Jesus less than five minutes of his day. Those five minutes meant everything to the men who were blind, but now could see. They didn’t just receive physical sight— because Jesus stopped and was moved with compassion they received spiritual sight too, and it forever altered their lives.
If you’ve been reading through the gospels with us, you know this isn’t the first time Jesus stopped and was moved with compassion. This man on a mission understood that people weren’t a distraction— they were the very reason why He came.
As a Christ-follower, I’ll admit I too often fall short in this area. I become consumed by my desires, my crowd (a.k.a. children), and my to-do list. In the peripheral of my mind I know I’m supposed to be helping others like Jesus did. There are times I feel almost a literal tug on my spirit…
To text a particular friend
To visit a neighbor
To attend a funeral
To invite someone over for coffee
As moms, our lives are busy. The crowds are loud. The to-do list is demanding. But if we’re paying attention, God will point out people He wants us to stop for along the journey.
It’s not enough to hear God’s voice— we must have pliable hearts to obey. It will cost us our time, talents, and treasures, yes. But our God is faithful to make much out of what’s left (1 Kings 17). Someone’s value, healing, freedom, and possibly very life is dependent on not only our awareness, but our action— to stop and be moved with compassion, like Jesus did.
The truth is, Jesus still stops for us. He stops to find us when we wander. He stops to speak life into us. He stops to sit with us in our joy, confusion, and grief. When I think about this and all the times other people who have stopped for me, I am filled with immense gratitude.
Take a moment to think back over the times someone stopped for you. Thank God for his mercy, and their obedience. Then, pray that He will help you to stop and do the same. Make your plans, but hold them loosely, yielding to ways He wants to work through you today.