The Monkey in the Middle


I’m home after a whirlwind tour on the camp circuit. One camp, One tour… every bit as exhausting as the times I travel to multiple places, one on top of another. But this morning I have a full night’s sleep in and my mind is starting to declutter. It’s not bad clutter… just a collection of camp sights and sounds that roam my mind until I find a way to file them into folders; Things I Love, Thinks I’d Change, Things I’m Grateful For, Things that I need address, and some things that made me stress. Camp is like life under a microscope. You’re in a confined space, sharing life up close and personal with people you may or may not know well and this science experiment can go amuck at any moments because kids and camp staff are very unpredictable. God designed us in a unique fashion as we discovered this week using our “the way you’re wired” curriculum. But although we’re all unique, we’re all still designed for one purpose and that is to glorify God.

This morning I opened the file to one of the standard behaviors for teens at camp, and kids in general I think, which is to tease and prank one another. It’s “usually” done in good fun, but there’s always those occasions where it crosses a line, feelings get hurt and it’s not nearly as funny as was the plan. Especially for the person pranked. Somewhere in the prank, compassion was overlooked.

I’ve never been a pranker. At least not a very good one. I’ve been the prankee on multiple occasions; perhaps that’s why I’m not a very good pranker. I know how bad it can hurt. My heart wells with compassion when I see a kid held hostage in a game of monkey in the middle or some other form of torment. I just really can’t ever imagine Jesus playing that game. But it’s a camp tradition that has continued in my 20 years of camp. I don’t like it… but it’s there.

Much like the lack of compassion of the church in a general sense. I don’t like it… but it’s there. This morning I read of Jesus’ compassion and my heart was broken because we’re raising a generation who are missing the mark on it.


Matthew 14:4

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

It was a “great multitude.” He healed them all… regardless of gender, socio economic status, race, big people, little people, tall people, short people, young, old… He didn’t show partiality to anyone, but rather all. The church could do better in tending to the sick. We do not have the power within ourselves to heal but we know Who does. And while they’re waiting on healing we can be His words, hands and hugs of compassion. But we don’t.


Matthew 15:32

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

Jesus of course spoke in the literal sense, which we too need to address, but how many people leave the house of God hungry? I’m blessed with an awesome Pastor who feeds my soul, but it’s up to me to eat. The people who Jesus’ compassion was toward were those who were there desiring He feed them spiritually. They wanted to hear from Jesus. They weren’t concerned with the flesh. Jesus dished it out and they ate it up and then He took care of their physical hunger as well. God’s men are in the pulpit Sunday mornings dishing out compassion and the church is full of persnickety eaters who’d rather wait to have it their way; denying God’s compassion to feed their soul.


Matthew 9:36

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

My stomach rolls over when I see the vast ocean of souls untouched by God. They truly are like lambs out in the cruel, harsh world waiting to be devoured by the enemy, all the while their shepherds are so busy serving self, arguing politics and denomination, worrying about who’s wearing pants and who’s singing the right songs that they fail to notice that they left the gate upon on the pen. The sheep are going everywhere and most of them to Hell because they didn’t feel loved by the Shepherd… mainly because the Shepherds workers were tearing down the other fences that others were building.  I know… metaphorically speaking doesn’t always make sense.

So here’s where my heart hits the road. It’s not the least bit funny when the church is withholding the compassion of God, and the monkey in the middle is a world desiring to be healed, fed and protected and the church is playing games.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at or find her on Facebook!

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