Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. – Mark 6:41-42
This story shows up in each of the gospels and it’s definitely in my list of the top 5 greatest moments of Jesus’ ministry (also on that list is Jesus calling Nathaniel by saying he saw him under a fig tree and Jesus rising from the dead).
This huge crowd had gathered and Jesus was teaching them late into the day. Seeing the time passing by, the disciples realize these people are going to be hungry and they don’t have enough food to feed them. So the disciples come to Jesus with their plan: Jesus needs to dismiss the crowd so they can head off to nearby villages and buy something to eat.
But instead of doing what the disciples suggest, Jesus enlists them to be part of the solution. He tells them to collect what food they have and bring it to him. Then he blesses what they put before him and turns it into more than enough. Each person is able to eat until they are satisfied.
What I appreciate about this passage is that it really is a window into what a life in relationship with God looks like. We take our meager resources, or what may seem like our small and seemingly insignificant abilities, and trust that God will do something with them. God is deeply interested in using what we bring.
This quote from theologian NT Wright sums it up well…
“This is how it works whenever someone is close enough to Jesus to catch a glimpse of what he’s doing and how they could help. We blunder in with our ideas. We offer, uncomprehending, what little we have. Jesus takes ideas, loaves and fishes, money, a sense of humor, time, energy, talents, love, artistic gifts, skill with words, quickness of eye or fingers, whatever we have to offer. He holds them before his father with prayer and blessing. Then, breaking them so they are ready for use, he gives them back to us to give to those who need them.”
God values each one of us so much that God wants to use us to help set things right, so much that God will take whatever we have to offer and use it for his good. As we go into this day, may we be attentive to and respond to the people around us in need of the satisfaction that only comes from knowing God.