Matthew 14:13-21 (NRSV)
Verse 13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. Verse 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. Verse 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Verse 16Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." Verse 17They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." Verse 18And he said, "Bring them here to me." Verse 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Verse 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. Verse 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Whenever I read this passage, I think about what the reactions of the disciples must have been when Jesus said to them, “They [meaning the hungry crowds] need not go away; you give them something to eat.” That’s a pretty tall order! I can just imagine them staring at their leader, Jesus, and thinking something like, “Oh, here he goes again with his crazy talk!”
But that’s the task before all of us, isn’t it? Jesus sends us out with his invitation to feed the neighbor, love the neighbor, and serve the neighbor. There will be enough; there is always enough when Jesus is involved. God’s abundance never runs out. Jesus gives to us so freely, so we can with confidence turn and give to others too.
Giver of Life, help us to share what we have, however large or small the gift, with our neighbors so all may eat and live. Amen.