I’m sure we’ve all been to ‘Bring and Share’ meals that have produced an interesting array of food. It’s amazing sometimes what the collective sharing of food brings. It can be an opportunity to try new things, or share your favourites with others – if you’re really lucky, you come away with some new recipes.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
30After the apostles returned to Jesus, they told him everything they had done and taught. 31But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.” 32They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone. 33But many people saw them leave and figured out where they were going. So people from every town ran on ahead and got there first.
34When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd. He felt sorry for the people and started teaching them many things.
35That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. 36Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the farms and villages near here and buy something to eat.”
37Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”
But they asked him, “Don’t you know that it would take almost a year’s wages to buy all of these people something to eat?”
38Then Jesus said, “How much bread do you have? Go and see!”
They found out and answered, “We have five small loaves of bread and two fish.” 39Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down on the green grass. 40They sat down in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.
41Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples to give to the people. He also divided the two fish, so that everyone could have some.
42After everyone had eaten all they wanted, 43Jesus’ disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftover bread and fish.
44There were five thousand men who ate the food.
I love this story. All those people, all coming to hear Jesus and what he had to say. Hungry to know more of him, yet conversely seeming to forget about bringing food.
The disciples get themselves in a flap, then they think it’s going to cost them money! Then Jesus points them to seeing what people have, what is already there in the crowd. Never mind panicking, go and see, perhaps among you is already what you need. It doesn’t seem much, it can’t be enough – but in the hands of Jesus it is more than enough as he transforms it.
Oh how we love to flap (well I do anyway!). Have we got enough? What about? I can’t see what we need. It will never work. Woe is us…
Are we like that in the church? Do we overlook God’s provision? Do we fail to see what people have to bring to the party? As we scout around for resources, is it really panic stations, or are there gifts and talents that we are missing in others? Are we failing to spot the obvious in our panic to sort things? Who are we overlooking, with all that they have to offer?
Or, do we hold tightly to what we have, rather than handing it over to God and letting him use it for his purposes and multiply it in the process?
God has given you something very special and very particular that you can use, something he needs you to share for the benefit of others. Do you know what it is? Are you willing to hand it to him, so he can feed you and others through it? Perhaps that is something to think about in our Lenten reflections? What am I holding on to, that God can use?
Five loaves and two fish didn’t seem like enough, so why bother? But in the hands of Jesus they were just what was needed.
Thank you Lord
for all that you have given to me –
what I realise I have,
and what I never knew.
Help me to place what I have
at your disposal,
to share with everyone,
that you may multiply and bless.
And may I never miss what others have to offer,
and encourage them to share
and feed me.