Thursday, September 6, 2012

5,000 with 5 Loaves: God’s Work and Ours (Mark 6:30-44)

Our goal as disciples of Jesus Christ is to witness, with what clarity and consistency we can, to all the freedom, truth, love, and vitality that are ours in Jesus Christ. For this to happen, Jesus must work graciously with us and we must respond gratefully to him. The story of the feeding of 5,000 people illustrates how this happens.

In this story, a crowd has been with Jesus all day. As sunset approaches, the first disciples tell Jesus to send these people away. Jesus tells his disciples to feed them first. These witnesses to Jesus have no idea how to do this.

This is our normal situation too. Confronted with some large and unexpected challenge, we have no idea how to respond creatively to it.

Jesus asks them what they have. He wants to know what he’s got to work with.

The same is true of us. Jesus wants to know what we are willing to give him for his use.

The disciples tell him they have five loaves and two fish. Not much if they want to feed 5,000 people.

This is also true of us. Whatever it is we have, it will never come anywhere close to doing what is helpful without Jesus.

Jesus takes the pitifully little that the disciples give him. Adding his gracious blessing, it becomes all that is necessary to accomplish his will of taking care of so many.

Jesus is all about love. He’s all about nurturing and protecting life. He could do things to us or without us. Instead, he asks for our help and does things with us. Even more, he sets impossible goals and then makes our woefully inadequate means equal to the task.

Sign of the presence of the kingdom: when our pitiful means become the creative response to a great challenge, then we may know for sure that Jesus is among us. Conversely, when we use massive means and yet experience a pitifully inadequate response, then we may know for sure that we are serving Vulcan, god of technology, or some other god of Olympus.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.