Anyone who's hung out with me much since this summer knows that I've listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton many many times. Which means, of course, that my mind has been busy applying its lyrics to all sorts of situations in my daily life.
Every time I navigate the crowded stretch of campus between my apartment and my office, every time I'm in a metro station, crossing paths with hundreds of people who I'll probably never see again, every time I meet new students at English Corner and spend time talking with them on WeChat afterwards, every time I fly and see the evidence of civilization beyond my imagination stretching out below, I find myself resonating with the panic-stricken words of Charles Lee in the song Stay Alive:
"But there's so many of them!"
There are so many people here. So much more work than I can begin to do -- at this school, in this city, this province, this country, this world. When I think about the scope, it's overwhelming.
I've been contemplating this post for a while now, but today I hit the perfect passage.
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore earnestly ask the Master of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest."
When I spiral into a Charles-Lee-like panic, it's because my heart is stuck in the first half of that. I see the crowds. I see their needs. But I forget that my job isn't to meet all the needs, to solve all the problems, to save the world.
My job's to ask Him to take care of it. It's His harvest, not mine.
So I am free to have compassion without the panic. It's a good deal, an easy yoke.