Monday, September 12, 2011

You give them something to eat!

Luke 9:10-17 NASB

When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He  began  speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.

Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place." But He said to them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people." (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, "Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each." They did so, and had them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke  them,  and kept giving  them  to the disciples to set before the people. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets  full.

My thoughts -

I love Jesus's command to his disciples here.

"You give them something to eat!"

Word got out. The people had heard about Jesus, and they wanted more. Jesus tried to hole up in a quiet, out of the way place but they got wind of where he was going and went there, too.

Now we've got a problem. It's getting late and the crowd is in what the disciples call "a desolate place". They're in the middle of nowhere. Send the crowd away so they can go somewhere else to get something to eat and maybe find a place to stay.

So Jesus gives them that command that I love so much. "You give them something to eat!"

I can imagine the incredulous looks on their faces. I can imagine them thinking, give them what to eat, exactly, Jesus?

They tally up what they have. Two fish. Five loaves. They tally up the people. Five thousand. This math is just not working. That's nowhere near enough to feed that many people. Heck, if the disciples eat anywhere near the way I do it may not even feed all of them!

Sometimes we face challenges that seem impossible. Heck, they don't seem impossible, they are impossible. But Jesus's command is clear. You give them something to eat. You do it. Feed my people. Care for my sheep.

We have a lot more resources at our disposal than two fish and five loaves. We have food coming out the wazoo. We produce more food in this country than we can eat. We have food spoiling on supermarket shelves and we also have food deserts in rural and urban areas where people don't have access to good food or the resources to acquire it. We have some families eating in shifts. And what they eat is just empty calories; junk food. It doesn't take much to see that we need to do a better job here. Hunger is a solvable problem if we can see past the daunting logistics distribution.

Jesus blessed the fish and the bread, broke them, fed five thousand people with them and even had leftovers. Can Jesus not bless us too?

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