Feeding the multitude
A large crowd of people went to listen to Jesus speak when he was in a deserted area far from any towns because they saw the miracles he had done in healing the sick. At the end of the day they were hungry but there was no place nearby where they could buy food. There was a boy in the crowd who had five loaves of bread and two fish. He shared what he had with his immediate neighbors. By giving each person one loaf of bread or one fish he was able to feed himself and six other people. The rest of the crowd went hungry.
Have you ever read this story in the Bible? Neither have I, but there is one that is very similar to it. The only difference is what the boy did with the food he had.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
Rather than giving the food directly to his neighbors the boy brought it to Jesus. Jesus gave thanks for the food and gave it to the multitude and it was enough to satisfy all of them. Instead of satisfying just seven people he was able to feed a crowd consisting of 5,000 men along with an unknown number of women and children.
When we look at the needs of the world and consider our own resources it is easy for us to come to the conclusion that we can’t possibly help all those who are in need. If we don’t take God into consideration we are right. In order to help others we must first give ourselves and all he have to God and he will multiply our resources just as he multiplied the loaves and the fish.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians about collecting money for the relief of the poor in Jerusalem he commended the Macedonian believers for giving generously in spite of their poverty.
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
While writing this post I noticed something about Jesus feeding the 5,000 that I had overlooked before. The boy showed faith by giving his food to Jesus, but the people also showed faith in sitting down and waiting for Jesus and his disciples to feed them. They neither crowded close to Jesus to make sure they got their share of food not left to look for food somewhere else.