Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” – Dalai Lama
When it was evening, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
I know there is disagreement over what exactly happens in this story about Jesus feeding the vast crowd that had gathered.
Following the quote above, the disciples answered Jesus that they only had five loaves and two fish, so in other words, feeding the crowd was impossible.
Then, Jesus goes on to gather that poultry amount of food, blesses it, and passes it out.
The crowd of over five thousand were not only fed but twelve wicker baskets full of left-overs were gathered.
Many want to see this as Jesus supernaturally multiplying the food and are not happy when they hear the other possibility.
I favor the other, but we really don’t know the answer.
The version I prefer is based on Jesus’ telling them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves (emphasis is mine).”
You are free to believe Jesus magically pulled mass quantities of food out of the little basket he had, but to me, that loses the importance of his instruction to give them some food yourselves.
And it loses the significance of Jesus’ practice of always reaching out to help those in need, and his expressed desire that we “follow him.”
He wanted people to do as he did.
Feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35).
Jesus’ message was not to sit there and rely on God to provide for those in need.
His message was to do something for them!
I think this story is far more powerful to believe that when the crowd saw Jesus and his followers sharing the small amount of food they had, that they all in turn shared the small amounts of food they had.
And, lo and behold, all were satisfied!
This would reflect what Jesus said elsewhere: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:38).
That is how agape love works in the universe.
It creates a circle of total, self-giving love poured out unconditionally.
This is who God is: Love itself (1 John 4:8).
When you let go of your self-centered desires and allow this Love to act on you, you become a vessel of this Love for the world.
And then, as Jesus put it, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34).
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Remember: God loves you!