S (Scripture): Matthew 14:15 When evening arrived, his disciples came to him saying, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But he replied, “They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 “Bring them here to me,” he replied. 19 Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, twelve baskets full. 21 Not counting women and children, there were about five thousand men who ate.
O (Observation): The crowd gathered has the disciples worried. They wanted to send everyone home. They didn’t have enough to feed everyone…or did they???
Notice v. 16. Who is to give food to the people? Jesus says, “YOU give them something to eat…” What?!?! Isn’t Jesus the one to feed the people? Well…yes and no…
What Jesus does is takes what the disciples had in their midst – 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish – and uses this little bit of food to feed 5,000. How? In v. 19, Jesus takes the bread and fish, and “looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves.” Jesus lifts the gifts of the people and gives thanks…and that satisfies their needs.
A (Application): If you’ve been in a church that celebrates Holy Communion, you probably recognize a similarity between Jesus’ actions here and in the Last Supper. Worship and recognition of God the Creator are central to the feeding of the 5,000 and to the Last Supper. We rely on God to take what we have, bless it, and multiply it.
While the Last Supper is not about multiplying the bread and wine, it is about God being revealed in our midst. God is revealed in the abundance of food in the Feeding of the 5,000. God is revealed in the wine and bread in the Last Supper and Holy Communion.
We can get quite disparaged as we look at ourselves or the congregation in which we worship. We can feel like we are not enough…like if we just had that one more gift…or that chunk of money…or that special ability…or that special someone…that we would be complete. The truth is…we are already complete. God has made us whole and gives us what we need. To the one without sight or hearing…they find a way to know that they are complete in other ways. To the one without full mental capabilities, we find a way to help them to know that they are still God’s beautiful child, complete already.
A beautiful thing I’ve noticed about our son is that he has a heart for seeing those with mental disabilities as already being whole. He has had a few interactions with folks like this, and he sees them as perfect and complete. I hope that he lifts that gift up to God for God to bless him and help him to bear fruit to help others.
As we give ourselves over to God, God blesses us and the gifts instilled in us in our baptism. With these gifts (and yes, we ALL have gifts to share), we go into the world to make it a better place…to share the love of God.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to know that we are all gifted – albeit differently from person to person. Amen.