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.
There were only five loaves and two fish, and yet Jesus fed thousands. I remember when I was in confirmation class many years ago, I was taught to notice the order of things in this story. Jesus first took the bread and the fish, looked to heaven, blessed, broke, and then gave them to the disciples with instructions to share them with the crowds. Jesus’ first action was to bless these gifts of food.
Jesus blesses all the gifts we bring to God; they are, after all, God’s gifts to us, and they will be enough. The gifts we have, the gifts we bring to God and God’s people will be enough if we first give them back to God in Jesus’ name.
Jesus, thank you for the abundant gifts you provide. Bless the gifts of our hands and bodies as we serve you in this world today. Amen.