This year I’m following the reading scheme in the centre of The Methodist Prayer Handbook, which is based on the Common Lectionary.
Today bring us to perhaps one of the well-known stories in the bible – the Feeding of the Five Thousand. It can be easy to get very blasé about the passages we think we know very well. But there is always something new to see and challenge. Indeed earlier in the week I was hit by something new in Bryony’s blog about once you’ve met Jesus you have to go back another way. How many times have I read about the Magi, and never thought of that!
But I digress, back to feeding the five thousand. What struck me in this was the disciples wanting to send the hungry people away to get themselves some food. Jesus answer is not, “What a fabulous idea, get them going”, but
“You give them something to eat”
The disciples have a responsibility. They have seen the need, and they have to do something about it. Jesus isn’t going to do it by himself either, he’ll help, but the disciples themselves have to take the initiative.
When we see a need, we should seek to do something about it. Not tell people to help themselves – often they can’t. We see the need for a reason, it’s up to us to help. God gets on board – but we need to do something too. Jesus doesn’t tell them to go and throw money at the problem – that would be a relatively easy way out. He challenges them to get among the people, see what’s already there, and bring that to him.
And what a blessing God gives to their work.
What needs do we see? What can we do about them – with God? What are we going to do?