Friday, January 31, 2014

Feeding People

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Six months' wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?" Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world."
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. John 6:1-15
We have been enjoying the foods that we have a hard time getting in Alaska. Every region has specialties which are often not fancy foods but rather the daily simple meals that bring people together. We stopped on our way out of town, after several days with my Mom, and bought hoagies from our favorite shop. It was about to close for a winter break, so we were glad we made it there. Simple pleasures come from being fed by familiar foods, gathering together with family and strangers alike.  Anyone of us can name a food that says "home" to us.
A huge crowd has gathered around Jesus. They are far away from anywhere and very hungry. The disciples are petrified by the crowd and the cost - it is all too much for them. One little boy generously shares his simple foods, and in doing so the whole crowd was fed, made to feel at home, and miracles happened. What was once inadequate became abundance. What was once an impossible task became a huge pleasure. In their gratitude they wanted to make him king because he had fulfilled a tremendous need, and known how to bring a whole people together.
Today I ask God to help me offer up what seems inadequate so that God may make it abundant. May we offer what we have so that God might increase for the car3e of others. May we never fear the need of the people, but rather trust God with providing the abundance today.

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