Tuesday, August 1, 2017

All Ate and Were Filled

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. Mark 6:30-46 

As clergy, we are often asked to do impossible things. A call can come in the middle of the night, while on vacation, or even in our offices. Standing with family by a death bed, sitting with folks in a waiting room, praying alone with the dying and with those whose world is falling apart - all of these and more are just part of the call. Hungry, sick, lonely and afraid people are all our people. Sometimes we feel that we don't have enough to give, there aren't miracles enough, or that words and actions have failed us. God never fails to stand with us, even when we feel so inadequate and empty.

Jesus looked on the people and had compassion on the lost, anxious and hungry crowd. He put his disciples in charge of finding food and they freaked out. They could only scrounge up a child size lunch. That small offering became the food for many, so much so that they were all filled. We, like the disciples, freak out when the task is too big - we're just human. And yet God stands with us in our small capacity and blesses even the smallest offering. We are invited by God to continually offer what we have, small as it might be, knowing that God will use and multiply it.

Today, I ask God to help me continue to offer all that I have, especially when it seems so small. May we all be open to God's new blessing on our inadequacies, so that the world around us, so in need, might be blessed with abundance.

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