Matthew 15:32-38 – Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
Sunday mornings… My favorite time of the week. Roll out of bed, blare some worship music, keep Jesus at the forefront of my mind, enter a sanctuary designated for holiness, and spend a time of worship and Word with those who share my faith. There’s just nothing better. But, let’s be completely honest- we can’t hardly make it through a two hour service without our stomachs rumbling and our minds wandering trying to decide what we’re going to grab for lunch after church. Yet, this large crowd, sat there with Jesus for three days – three days – without a bite to eat. Mothers wrestled with cranky children; husbands comforted tired wives… or did they? Could it be that they were so enamored with the words and miracles of Jesus Christ that they couldn’t get themselves to leave His presence? Were they able to clear their minds of earthly desires to the point that hunger pangs went unnoticed?
Our lives today are filled with so much. I’m sure each one of us could find something to direct our attention to nearly every moment of every day. But, do we fall in love with the voice of Jesus when we hear Him speak? Do we make time to listen? If we did, we would see the same compassion and miracle working power he displayed in this passage. We would hear the instruction He daily gives us to go out into a world that’s hurting and hungry- and offer them the only Thing that will forever satisfy. He is concerned with our spiritual and physical well-being. He is ever mindful of us, and no discomfort we face is unseen by Him. And, He has every capability of meeting our every need.
Knowing that, puts us in the place His disciples were in this story. We witness and understand His compassion to those hungering for Him; we tell Him what we have to offer; He then blesses, provides, and asks us to share the experiences we’ve just been a part of. At that moment, it’s imperative that we turn and give back to the crowds that have been waiting to receive something from Him. We are His hands and feet. Although this quote may seem cliche, it’s entirely true- “You (or I) may be the only Jesus someone ever sees.” What are we showing them? How are we introducing Him to those around us? Even when we find ourselves in the most desolate of places, He can still bless what we have. That’s His specialty. Growing flowers in the desert, parting oceans, and using broken people. He does what people don’t expect… When you think you’re only putting limitations on yourself, you’re hindering Him from achieving something amazing through you!
He has more than enough to meet the needs of us all. In this passage, He chose to use what the disciples already had to feed the crowd. He could have rained manna from heaven or brought honey from a rock. But, I believe He wanted to show us that although what we have may seem insufficient, when He puts His blessing on it, it’ll be more than enough. (And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.)
We humans have a real problem of noticing every fault we have. We cringe at our shortcomings and are ashamed of what we consider to be our inadequacies. Thank goodness the power doesn’t depend on us. It rests in Him! (Philippians 4:13- I can do all things THROUGH Him Who strengthens me.)
Just offer Him what You have! Then, be willing to be the vehicle He uses to deliver His goodness to those around you waiting. Just like He took a few loaves and fish and fed more than 4,000 people, He can use your few words and acts of obedience to fill the voids the multitudes we encounter daily are dealing with. He blessed you… now, turn around and bless the crowd.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the many blessings You bestow on my life. Please, bless and multiply what little ability I have to help someone hungering for You. Help me hear You speak and give me the determination to always obey. In Your precious name I pray, amen.