Today's Lectionary Text
On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
In Ken Blanchard’s “The One Minute Manager”, an employee calls her boss and says, “I have a problem.” Before she can get another word out, her manager answers, “Good, that’s what you’ve been hired to solve.” I can’t help but think Jesus must have been a One Minute Manager. When the disciples come to Jesus and say, “We have a problem.” He says, “Good. That’s why I’ve called you.”
The problem is a hungry crowd. Thousands of people have gathered, it’s late in the day and they have no way to feed them. They suggest Jesus disperse the crowd, so they can go find food on their own. His answer is quite simple, “You give them something to eat.”
They gather the resources they have. Jesus takes the bread and fish, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them to share with the people. And there is more than enough for everyone. Jesus performs a miracle; but the disciples are not bystanders. They are called to do the work of feeding the crowd.
It is that way in our lives, too. We may see those who hunger, who are in pain, who long for God’s love. We may pray that God provides for those in our communities who do not have what they need. But we are not bystanders while God works. We must answer the call to do the work of being the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
-Pastor Michael Turner
Auburn KS UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, when we see those who most need to know Your love in this world, help us to remember we are called not only to pray for them, but to do the work of caring for our brothers and sisters in need. Amen.
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