"Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, [Jesus] gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people." - Luke 9:16
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We in church ministry probably all have a list of things we dread. One of the most universal is running out of food for people. I can't even count the hours I have spent going over dinner plans and possible numbers and calculating how many pizzas we need per adult, per child, and per teenage boy (I once wrote an algebraic formula for that one). I am sure Pastor Linda and our kitchen crew have done this even more than I have!
It is comforting to know that Jesus' disciples had the same struggle. Despite all the miracles Jesus had done, they still quaked in their sandals when they realized they had thousands of hungry people on their hands. These people had been so hungry for Jesus' teaching that they did not think about their own needs until it was late in the day. The disciples saw an easy solution to the problem - send them away so they can take care of themselves. Jesus, on the other hand, had much bigger plans.
"You give them something to eat," said Jesus.
I wonder if they brought up their five loaves and two fish just to prove their point. See this? It's impossible!
I love that incredible moment in Luke 9:16, where Jesus took the bread and fish, gave thanks for them, and then handed them to the disciples to distribute. At what point did the bread start multiplying? Was it as Jesus handed it out? Was it as the disciples handed it out? Can you imagine having half a pita bread in your hand to give out to a thousand people? I would at first be tempted to give one crumb per person, or perhaps tear it in half and give it to the first two and come back to Jesus to say "See, I told you so. There's not enough." Then at what moment did the disciples start to understand the miracle that was happening in their own hands?
My friend Andrew Ginsberg is a vice president at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. When he first started working there, the president took him into his office and said to Andrew, "When
Jesus gave the bread to the disciples, He only gave them just enough in their basket. They had to keep going back to Jesus for more to give out." Then the president pulled out the tiniest basket Andrew had ever seen and said, "Your basket is really small, so you need to go back to Jesus a LOT."
Andrew gave me a similar basket, and it always makes me smile. It reminds me that despite all my attempts to provide and fix and organize and achieve, my basket is going to run out really quick without Jesus. None of us have the resources within ourselves to accomplish the "immeasurably more" that God has planned. But if we keep returning to Jesus and keep letting Him fill our baskets with His Bread of Life, we will have more than enough, more than we can even imagine, to use for His glory.
May the Lord bless you and your families abundantly this Thanksgiving season!