The disciples came to Him and said, “Send the people away so they may go into the surrounding villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They searched and all they could find was a boy’s small lunch of five loaves and two fish. Jesus instructed the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. Then He took loaves and fish, looked up to heaven, blessed and broke them, gave them to His disciples who in turn set it before the all the people. They all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of bread fragments and fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves and fish were about five thousand men. Mark 6:35-44
Jesus initially told his disciples they would be going away with him to rest a while. It had been such a busy day of ministering to the needy people that the disciples hadn’t even taken time to eat. They boarded a boat and launched out to find a place to be quiet and rest, but the crowds followed them along the shoreline and saw where they landed.
The people arrived at the boat hungry for more of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus discerned the physical hunger they were suffering from would hinder their ability to receive spiritual nourishment and turned what could have been a moment of frustration into a teaching opportunity.
Jesus instructed the disciples to do the impossible–meet the people’s need for food. He asked what resources were available, and all the disciples were able to come up with was a mere sampling–a child’s lunch. What would five pieces of bread and two fish be amongst the staggering crowd of 5,000?
Being understaffed and lacking resources didn’t hinder Jesus from ministering to those that had gathered to hear the truth. He had the people sit down, called out to heaven for help, and blessed and broke what was available. God supernaturally did the rest of the work. Everyone had something to chew on, and there were 12 doggy bags of leftovers.
Jesus expanded the stomachs and souls of the people that day. He also increased the capacity of the disciples’ hearts. He taught the disciples the value of meeting the needs of others and to use what God has given, no matter how insignificant it may appear.
Like the disciples, I believe God desires to deepen our understanding of what He values. He wants us to recognize people in need around us and to follow His leading to offer help. God has the ability to meet all of our needs–simple or enormously impossible. We just need to ask for His help and follow His instructions. When we do, we share the truth of His love.
Chew on this: God is laying out opportunities for you to build someone up and enrich a hungry soul. With an encouraging word, phone call, or prayer, you may change someone’s life in a dramatic way. Ready to offer lunch?