Tag Archives: Feeding 5000

Giving What You Have – Christmas Day 11

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?”

10 The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

I love this passage.  The God of such abundance taking the humble offering of one boy, surely inconsequential in terms of the need, and making it beyond belief and plenty.

He ignores the stupidity of those who came unprepared and the disbelief of the disciples that anything could be done – and he gives and he blesses.  In the hands of God what is there is way beyond expectations and more than enough to fill the hunger.

The boy didn’t worry about how small a lunch he had to offer, he just gave it to Jesus to use. He could have worried how little it was, known it was not enough and so said nothing – then what would Jesus have had to work with?  But in being willing to hand it over, there was a beginning.  Andrew sees the paucity of what is available, Jesus sees a gift offered.

Nouwen reminds us that what we give is multiplied – that is God’s way.  And the more we give away, the more we discover how much there is to give away – but we have to be willing to give it.

The theme of giving generously continues.

What have I got that I can offer to God?  It may seem small or insignificant to me, but in the hands of God, what may it become?  I can hide it away, embarrassed at the meagerness of it, or humbly offer it to God for him to use it.  We all have something we can offer to him.


I offer to you,

what I have,

what I am.

To me it seems small,

nowhere near enough,

but I give it to you,

that you may do

with it what you will

This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub

Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are:






What Have You Got to Share?

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.

Mark 6:30-44

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.



This year, I am again following the Big Read using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

That’s enough

What’s not to like about a picnic with friends?  A nice leisurely afternoon enjoying the fresh air, and good finger food.

Yet that is not quite the situation Jesus and his disciples find themselves in, in this story.  The people have gone out to listen to Jesus speaking, and had spent so much time there that now it’s getting late and they’ve got no food.  The disciples want to send the people on their way, Jesus tells them not to do that, but to do something about the situation themselves.

I’ve blogged about Mark’s version of this story already this year You Do Something.

It can be so easy to pass the buck, let someone else pick up the pieces of a situation, but Jesus challenges us to do something.

I’m not sure about you, but so often I’m with the disciples, ‘what have I got that can be of any use?’  ‘Look what a small thing I have for such a large task.’

Jesus response to that?  To smile slowly, and say

bring it here, give it to me

In Jesus hands, five loves and two fish are not just enough – but an abundance.  They meet the need and some.

So what have we got that we’re doing nothing with – because we don’t think it’s enough?  We think the little we have is too small, too insignificant.  But Jesus says to us,

bring it here, give it to me

and in his hands, what we have to bring to him is enough.  He can take it and use, and bless others with it.

So don’t worry that you have nothing to offer, that what you have is not enough.

Bring it to God, give it to him – and watch what he can do with it.


I feel insignificant,


lacking –


I offer to you

what I have,

and ask you to take it,

and use it,

to meet the needs you see