A couple weeks ago I preached the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 for the very first time in twenty-one years of ministry. Oddly, I’d never really been drawn to this story. It seems so straightforward. I mean, what is there to say?
I’ve been surprised, however, by how much it’s connected with me. For instance, I never noticed that Matthew places this story right after the disciples tell Jesus that his cousin John has been killed.
Jesus is deep in grief, seeking time alone to mourn. Then a thronging crowd shows up. Remarkably, rather than responding with irritation or resentment, Jesus channels his grief into compassion. He stewards his pain, turns it into service.
I’ve been asking Jesus to do the same thing in my own heart in this season.
Another thing that stands out is the way Jesus insists on meeting the needs of the people through his disciples. The crowd is hungry. The disciples want Jesus to send them away. Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.” They protest, “We can’t. We only have five fishes and two loaves.” We only have…
How often do I think and say the same thing? We tend to focus on what we lack, what we don’t have, instead of what we do have.
Jesus says, “Bring what you have to me, no matter how meager you think it is.” Then Jesus takes it, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it back to us for service. And the miracle! There ends up being enough — more than enough — when we release into his hands.
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