‘”By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”‘—- Mark 6:35-37
I recently had a conversation with a friend who got invited to attend a football game in a luxury box suite. Their hosts told she and her husband to eat very little before coming, and she soon found out why. Upon arrival, mounds of gourmet food greeted them. Pre-game food included frittatas, French toast bar, muffins, and other breakfast foods. Before noon, the shrimp, crab, and pulled pork came out, and after the game got started, hamburgers, hot dogs, and other game food arrived. As if this wasn’t enough, you also had access to the ice cream bar, the candy bar, and other goodies, and could stuff yourself with as much food and drink as you liked. Although the suite was shared by around 100 people, my friend was amazed at the excessive food and couldn’t eat even a dent into it.
I contrast this story with a service project I have participated in a couple times with church youth. It is a sandwich-making ministry, begun by a man (Allen) in our city. After witnessing the plight of the homeless on our urban streets night after night, he began making sandwiches and handing them out face-to-face to people. One person with a small amount of food to share now has a thriving ministry that gives out sandwiches to homeless people, charities, and food programs, and it happens year-round. Church groups, organizations, individuals, and others vie for time slots to make plain sandwiches to go in large freezers for storage, to be distributed to people who need it most. As our youth filled bread bags with sandwiches— bread slices, a slice of lunch meat, and a slice of cheese— we felt like we were making a difference.
In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus uses a small, insignificant lunch of a young boy (5 loaves of bread and 2 fish) to feed thousands of hungry people. After preaching all day, the disciples wanted Him to dismiss the crowds to go home and get food. He told the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” They balked at the perceived cost, but obeyed, and Jesus performed a miracle with a meager lunch. All were fed beyond fullness, and there were leftovers.
I wonder how many people could have been fed with all the food in the luxury football suite. Surely more than the 100 who were there. It’s an interesting thought.
We can see God’s miraculous power in the world around us. I have been blessed to participate in many organizations through church work that have blessed many people with food. And we only need a small offering to get going. And Jesus tells us, “You give them something to eat.” When we work together, God’s work is multiplied and can change so many lives. Let’s consider how we might be part of God’s work for the homeless and hungry today….
Food for thought.
Prayer—“Gracious Lord, you place the responsibility of caring for others in my hands. So many times I pass the buck and think someone else will do it. Create the desire in me to help and serve. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.