I am grateful for the food we have to distribute. We take breads, bakery goods, and miscellaneous snack items around each week, and we also have more substantive foods to share as we are made aware of needs. Twice a week we have discipleship groups in our home, and when we gather we always eat a meal together. Sharing what we have is a beautiful way of satisfying not only physical hunger, but a hunger that has an origin mysteriously deeper than the stomach. As we share meals together or give food away, we not only meet people and hear their stories, but we are reminded that life is much more than physical food.
When crowds gathered to listen to Jesus, Jesus looked on the crowds with compassion. The disciples didn’t always share Jesus’ compassion, however. As day turned to evening and large crowds of needy, hungry people weren’t moving, the disciples had a plan for Jesus and all the people (Matthew 14:14-21). Send the people away so they can go buy food for themselves!
I’m grateful that when we are fatigued and faithless (oh, yes), Jesus remains relentless! He is infinite in love and full of compassion. Jesus addresses His clueless disciples: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat!” (v. 16).
Okay. So the disciples only found five loaves and two fish. And no doubt they were expecting Jesus to get on board with their plan at that point. But instead Jesus said, “Bring them [the loaves and fish] here to Me.” Then He blessed…He broke… He gave the loaves and fish to the disciples, the disciples gave to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied.
I can’t get away from Jesus’ gentle rebuke: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat!” The day may get long. The crowds may seem overwhelming. My resources may appear inadequate. But still Jesus is relentless. Hallelujah! I don’t want to miss a single opportunity. The Lord’s compassions never fail!
“You give them something to eat….”