Do you remember that story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples cross that big lake to find a little peace and quiet, and take a break from all those needy people? And then when they go to the other side of the lake the crowd has already gotten there, so Jesus continues to minister to them because of his compassion. Later in the day they’re all hungry and tired, so Jesus takes the lunch this one little kid brought, and divides it up and feeds about five thousand people?
Have you ever noticed the part of the story where the disciples says something like: “…gosh, look at the time! All these people must be hungry….we should send them away to the nearby towns so they can find food!” Then Jesus does something strange. He looks right at these hungry, tired, empty-handed disciples of his and says “no, you give them something to eat.” Now that may not seem strange because you already know the end of the story…how Jesus basically creates food out of thin air and feeds everyone. But what if you were one of those disciples that Jesus was speaking directly to? Hmm? It seems almost cruel of Jesus, doesn’t it, to require his disciples to do something he knows they are incapable of doing?!
Or maybe it isn’t cruel at all. Maybe this is how Jesus chooses to teach his followers to trust him for a miracle when they have an “impossible” thing to do. In that light it isn’t cruel, but instead loving in a very personal and intimate way. Jesus says: “I know you don’t have all you need to complete what I’ve commanded, but do what you can, and trust me for the rest.”
In fact, Jesus treats those who belong to him this way all the time, giving commands we can’t measure up to. He says things like:
“love your enemies”,
“forgive those who wrong you”,
“don’t worry about tomorrow”,
“husbands love your wives the way I love my church”,
“boast in your weaknesses and infirmities”,
“don’t try to hold on to your life, give it to me”.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me feel like a starving man who’s been asked to feed someone else. But! Let’s respond in faith. If Jesus is asking us to do something we know we can’t do, maybe we’re about to witness a miracle! Just bring him your three loaves and two fish, and let’s see what he does with them!