Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”
But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down.
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!
A few observations
- Jesus asked them to do something they really couldn’t do. The need was far too great for the resources they had.
- They gave him what they had even while they questioned his logic. Did He really just ask them to feed 5,000 men (plus women and children)?
- Jesus’ answer was not the same as theirs. They thought they were going to buy bread, but what happened was for more amazing.
- When Jesus took what they had and multiplied it, He not only met the need, but went beyond that so there was essentially a basket left over for each disciple.
Most of the time, I feel like those loaves and fish, not enough to meet the need. Honestly, sometimes all I have is half a loaf without the fish. When I read this story, I feel like it reaches out of the depths of time and meets me where I’m at.
There are many days when all I have for my daughter, my marriage or for other people is half a loaf. I feel exhausted, wishing I were more. I wish I were like other people who seem to have endless energy and mental capacity; that folks, is not who I am. Most of the time, I’m actually pretty ok with being me. Nevertheless, I have my days when I don’t have a whole lot and I wonder if I’m a disappointment.
What fills me with hope from this testimony in Luke is that there is so much left over from the little that they had in the beginning. Not only does God multiply what we offer Him, He provides more. He doesn’t leave us high and dry with nothing left. He doesn’t take every scrap and leave us starving… I think we often do that to ourselves.
I recently penned these words while discussing this very problem with God…
“I may feel like I don’t have much, but I’ll give you what I have. Ha, ha… you’ll seriously have to do the rest.”
So chin-up, He does a heck of a lot with a little.