30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
41 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 to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!
I hope you caught the first thing Jesus says in today’s passage. That’s important for all of us. When you are working, serving, ministering it is important to find some time and space to go off by yourself, just you and Jesus, and get some rest. Remember earlier, Jesus said that Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. Part of the point there is that rest is for our benefit, we should take it regularly.
The next story is prototypical of the life of a follower of Jesus. You see a real need, so you pray, telling Jesus about the need, maybe even making a suggestion about how to solve it. Sometimes (not all the time), Jesus responds, “You do it.” You hear that and quickly realize that you do not have the resources to do whatever it is. It’s not just that you don’t think you have enough, you literally don’t have enough. Not even close. What you have is laughably paltry compared to the need. Then you step out and begin to do it and you wind up having a lot more than you needed. An abundance. Enough to meet the need and then some. This same process gets played out over and over again. We still tend to freak out each time, but Jesus still comes through each time.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
2 thoughts on “Red Letter Year: 1/25”
Mike, that has been our experience at the food pantry over and over. I remember the first time we had over 100 families show up. I designed the new pantry layout when we were typically seeing 40-50 families so we had shelve space designed for 80 families. We freaked when we had a turnout over 100. Yet when it was over everyone had a very generous basket of food and we still had food on our shelves. Today we see almost 100 every time we open and routinely see up to 130. God has never failed to provide both the food and the volunteers to do exceedingly more than I every thought possible.
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