Doing What We Can
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciple to set before the people, and he divided the two fish among them all (Mark 6:41).
While I write this, I am in the Holy Land for our Annual Conference pilgrimage for 2023. Christians throughout the ages have felt a need to go on a pilgrimage to see and experience those holy places that have a memory. It helps us remember God and renew our commitment to a life of faith.
Certainly, one doesn’t have to travel to Israel and Jordan to experience Holy places or holy moments, they can happen where ever we are. We just need to train our eyes and hearts to be open to how God works in the ordinary, every day moments of life.
The context for the scripture quoted above took place on an ordinary day. The disciples had just returned from a preaching mission Jesus had sent them on. They were so excited to share with Jesus what had happened. While they were sharing how they saw God at work, Jesus invited them to a deserted place, possibly so they could learn more about what they experienced.
The Gospel of Mark tells us that when the crowds saw the disciples and Jesus going into the wilderness, they went out too, possibly to see what was going to happen. After a day of teaching, Jesus looked at the disciples and said, “Give them something to eat.”
The disciples must have looked at Jesus as if he were out of his mind. They said, “What are you talking about? We don’t have enough money to buy food for everyone (there were at least 5,000 present).” Like the disciples, we often look at the challenges before us and lament that we don’t have enough.
Jesus looked at the disciples and said, “What do you have?”
They counted up what they had; five loaves of bread and two fish. They brought what they had to Jesus. He ordered them to have the people sit in groups. Then he blessed what had been offered. He gave it to the disciples and they gave it to the people.
When the meal was over, everyone had enough - and there was food left over.
This passage is a constant reminder to me that Jesus invites me to offer what I can, what I have, trusting in the service of God, it will grow and be more than enough. I need this reminder, because there are too many times when I look in the mirror and feel inadequate.
As we continue our Lenten Journey, I pray that we can bring what we have and offer it to the God who loves us, who goes before us, who wants to speak through us to touch this world. May our lives show God to this world.
Loving God, thank you for calling us. Thank you for inviting us to look at what we have, so we can offer that to the world. There are too many times when I feel inadequate. Give me the courage I need to live well today. Guide me on this journey to you. Teach me how to live. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.