“Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish.’ And he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves 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 twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:13-21
Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus told them they were responsible for feeding the crowd that had gathered around Jesus that night. The disciples weren’t evil; they weren’t trying to starve the crowd.
In fact, they had done exactly the opposite and were trying to help them by sending them out so they could eat and replenish. They truly wanted the best for them, but what they thought was best and what Jesus thought was best weren’t the same.
Sometimes it seems like all hope is lost. We’ve tried again and again and as hard as we want it to it seems as if the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in aren’t changing. We don’t have the perfect family, or the best grades, or we find ourselves always snapping and our temper getting away from us. We are desperate for a miracle but we really don’t have much left to bring. We know there is a need and we are desperate to meet it, but if it’s up to us we fail every time.
Thankfully, Jesus didn’t ask the disciples to feed the people on their own. He didn’t call on them to do a miracle themselves, He just asked them to bring what they had. God is waiting to do the miraculous. God isn’t finished showing up in big ways- even in today’s time He is still in the business of miracles. He just needs us to be available, to bring what we have. Even if we only have just a few fish and loaves. Our resources don’t limit God. It doesn’t matter how much you have or don’t have- it matter’s what you do with what you do have.
One thing I love about Jesus is that sometimes it looks like all hope is lost. The buzzer is about to go off and the games going to end and the people aren’t going to be fed. But Jesus always finds a way, even if it’s not the way we would have expected. I also love that this story doesn’t count us out of the picture. Jesus didn’t need to displace food- He could have made dinner appear out of thin air (He is God, after all!).
But He chose to use the food of the disciples, and He chooses to continue to bring us into His story, THE story. If we just open up our lives to what God has in store we end up with a front row seat to the adventures of God. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of life I want. Not a life selfishly holding on to my own dinner, but one that is lived with palms open giving freely to God and watch His incredible story unfold.