Matthew 14:16-18, “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” And they said to him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to Me.'”
Often I have found that it is difficult to love and serve people. Honestly, I love myself too much. I would rather think about my own needs before thinking of the needs of others. Unfortunately, there is a deep root of selfishness that comes out of me sometimes. It can become tough to do what I know to be good and true when it comes to serving others. Does anyone else have this problem?
As I am reading through the account of Jesus’ life, I find it increasingly astonishing how Jesus reacted in tough situations. In this particular scenario, after a long day of teaching and, by the way, discovering that his friend was beheaded (how traumatic is that?!), Jesus finally takes time to retreat. Yet, the crowd followed Jesus wherever he went. Would that not be annoying?! Especially in this circumstance!
When Jesus comes ashore, there are all those people, ONCE AGAIN! Ugh! Yet, Jesus has compassion on them. He heals the sick. There is nothing like dealing with others when you have already exerted yourself. But Jesus did it, and his disciples did it with him. So, good, the work is done. Check that off the list. The day is finished. Let’s go home. Woo hoo!
The people who were hungry. Dang it! Those pesky people again! His disciples were so conventional. In essence, they said, “Hey, lets just send these people away into town so they can get something to eat.” I can identify with that. Isn’t it much easier to point people to resources rather than to be the instrument for change?
But not so fast. Take note of Jesus. What was it that Jesus said? “You give them something to eat.” Say WHAT?
Are you kidding?!
His disciples had five loaves of bread and two fish. There were 5,000 men, not including the women and children. But check this out: Jesus was asking his disciples only to do the possible. That’s right. Again, Jesus was only asking his disciples to do the possible. Notice, while his instructions were for the disciples to feed the crowd, the disciples’ responsibility was to give Jesus what they had. Jesus said, “Bring them [(the loaves) here to me.”
There are times in life when it seems like we are being asked to do the impossible. Walking on the Path where God’s finger is pointing toward life and fullness may lead us to tough situations like this. Today, in Dallas, hunger exists. There are thousands of homeless people wandering the streets. People in various places are experiencing injustice. There are orphans and widows whose needs are being neglected. It will take a miracle to make everything as it should be. At some point, if I go out today, I will bump into some of them. And my job is to “feed” them. So what do I do?
Jesus is asking all of us, “Bring what you have to me.” Our job is not to perform the miracle. We must only give what we have. If we all did what we could, we may be shocked to see the miracles that take place because of our faithfulness to do our simple part. This will mean intentionally being aware of opportunities in the midst of a mindset that trends toward selfishness. We must battle against that because our small influence can make a big difference, even in inconvenient situations.