Daily Devotion - Wednesday, March 9, 2016
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” - Luke 9:12-13
The lectionary text for today is from Luke's Gospel, and his version of the Feeding of the Five Thousand story. Jesus is teaching on the hillsides of the Sea of Galilee and there are thousands of people listening to him. It was "late in the afternoon," and the disciples were hungry, no doubt, and decided it was time for a break.
The disciples were more focused on how the needs of the multitude were impacting them than on the people themselves. They approach Jesus and say to him: "We need to send these people away to fend for themselves--let them get food and find some lodging elsewhere." And how does Jesus respond? "You give them something to eat," he tells them.
"We only have a bit of bread and some fish," the disciples reply. Then they add, "...unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." In other words, what they were saying was: "We can't be responsible for them. We don't have enough for them. We don't have enough resources, time, or room for these people and all of their needs. And we darn sure don't have enough money."
There is a wonderful song by Christian artist Matthew West entitled "Do Something," and the lyrics speak right into this very story:
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”*
Sometimes I think about all of the problems in the world around me, and it overwhelms me. I don't have to look very far, in fact. My church provides a community meal each week to anyone who needs it. We serve over two hundred meals a week to the needy, homeless and lonely people in our neighborhood. The needs of some of our guests are far too great for a meal to solve.
But many years ago, we took seriously Jesus' command to his disciples: "You give them something to eat." We didn't have enough then--enough volunteers, enough resources... Honestly, we never really have enough to solve all of the problems that exist in our community. We also had concerns about how fully embracing the needs of our community would affect our church family. In the end, we decided to bring our loaves and fishes to Jesus, and let him bless them, multiply them and do what Jesus does.
Perhaps you've been burdened for the world around you, and you wonder why God doesn't just solve the problems that exist. Maybe you've been feeling led to do something about those problems, but you don't feel like you have enough of what it takes to even try. Jesus teaches us that God chooses to solve those problems by using an unlikely source: Us. And further, that when we decide to step out in faith with what we have in our hands--God will provide the rest.
May you discover that you have more than enough to be God's instrument of peace, love, hope and joy in the world. May you realize that even though there are big problems in this world, you serve a bigger God. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
* Writer: Matthew West Copyright: Songs For Delaney, Atlas Holdings,
External Combustion Music, Songs Of Southside Independent Music Publishing