What happens when you only have two fish and five loaves of bread? You bring them to Jesus. Jesus makes it bigger! In Matthew 14:13-21 we see the story of the feeding of the 5,000. This blows my mind. I always cook too much food. We always have left overs, but you know what happens? Much of it goes to waste. But we are talking about food for 5,000 people. This was not a problem for Jesus. Our Jesus always has enough and nothing goes to waste when He's the One serving.
But lets start at the beginning. Jesus had just heard the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded. He was seeking to be alone. This news was heartbreaking for Him. Jesus knows the importance of being alone with the Father. He withdrew and boarded the boat for a remote place, but when He gets there crowds have already formed. The people were waiting for Jesus. I love the fact that the people were waiting. Shouldn't we always be waiting for the Lord? He steps ashore and sees the huge crowd. Although He desired to be alone, He has compassion on the people and heals the sick.
Evening comes and the disciples go to Jesus. It seems they are a little more than aggravated. They look to Jesus and say, "This is a place of wilderness, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Matthew 14:15 Yes, this is my favorite part! Okay, now isn't it sounded a little more like the disciples are more concerned with themselves? Maybe I can relate because I know this whine all too well. At times this is my voice complaining to the Lord. See, what I love is the fact that the people were gathered in the wilderness. Ever feel like your in the wilderness all alone? Friends, Jesus is in the wilderness with us. He can be found there. He walked the wilderness road long before our steps formed there. The wilderness is not barren of our Savior. I know there have been times that I have walked through the wilderness just to be reminded that Jesus is all I need. He is there waiting and will bring us through no matter what time of day it is. The disciples knew it was getting late. This didn't matter to Jesus. Everything happens in His perfect timing and this was one of those times where the disciples were about to receive a lesson. It is never too late for us to call upon our Savior. He is willing to come at any time.
Our problem is that we limit God. We have placed Him in a box. Friends, we have to shatter that box with faith. We have to begin expecting the unexpected. We have to thing big!! As in two fish and five loaves of bread. Jesus was about to serve up a feast that wouldn't soon be forgotten. But isn't that just like us? He does something big and we soon forget. We don't just forget we forget to keep expecting. We serve a God that is at work 24/7. He never stops. There is always room at His table. You have an invite. Why not accept the invitation and see what's being served?
Next Jesus replies to the disciples. "They don't need to go away, Jesus told them. You give them something to eat." Matthew 14:16-17 Don't you just love this? Can you imagine the look on the faces of the disciples? I can. I've had that look myself. Yes, when the Lord calls upon me and asks me to do something I often look at Him like, "Are ya sure, Lord? Am I the right girl? Just how am I suppose to do that?" See, all Jesus needs are willing vessels. He has already equipped us with everything we need. Everything is possible with the Lord, right? Why is it we forget this so often? The disciples were not doing anything we ourselves don't do today.
Next comes the great whine from the disciples, "But we only have five loaves and two fish here", they said to Him." Matthew 14:17 Don't you know the Lord just loves to hear all those buts from us? But I don't have enough time. But how am I suppose to do that? But what if I don't do it right? But....Again, all He needs is a willing vessel and He will do the rest. He provides. Our Savior provides an endless bounty for us. All we must do is believe. We see it every day in our lives. He shows us miracle after miracle. Yes, only gifts that the Lord could give. We fail to see all that they are because we are too focused on ourselves rather than the giver.
My granddaughter loves being outdoors. When she wants to see more of something she says, "Hold up, Nanny. Let me put my goggles on." Then she looks through them and the possibilities are endless. We need that same vision. On this night the disciples could have used their God goggles to see more clearly.
Jesus didn't stop the disciples here and say, "Yeah, boys, your right. Lets head on home. There's not anything more we can do here." No, in fact, He says, "Bring them here to Me." Matthew 14:18 Don't you know that is exactly what He was waiting for? His moment to shine. His moment to tell the boys who had lost sight, to think bigger!! See beyond the moment and know that with God everything is possible.
So, Jesus takes the fish and the loaves and blesses them. The people all sit down and dig in. Now, I try with all my might to picture this. 5,000 people all eating together. Gives us a glimpse into heaven. Remember, God's table is big enough for everyone. This wasn't just 5,000 people though. This wasn't counting the women and children. God wasn't leaving anyone out! The thing is, we don't know if all of these people were believers. What it does show us is that Jesus doesn't leave anyone out. He is willing to go all the way for everyone. He did that on the cross. He didn't just die for a few. He died for ALL.
"Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces! Now those who ate were about 5,000 men, besides women and children." Matthew 14:20-21 Jesus always has enough for everyone and even has left overs for us to share. What a great lesson for us fishers of men. Ever feel your calling is too big? Jesus never calls us to something He first hasn't equipped us for.
What can we learn? Bring Jesus what we have. Trust Him with what we have. Jesus multiples blessings. Can you imagine the smiles among the people as they ate until they were full? Jesus does't leave us half empty. He fills us until we are over flowing. Yep, leftovers to share with others.
Next time your ready to doubt what can come of what little you have, remember we serve a big God who does big things. Jesus gives in abundance. Beth Moore shares, "Christ can perform astounding wonders when we bring Him all we have."
Lets not miss something spectacular here. Remember those left over baskets? That's right, there were 12 baskets of left overs. I almost missed this in my first reading. 12 baskets. Enough left overs for each of the 12 disciples. I find that amazing. Yes, these disciples that urged Jesus to just turn the people away. These disciples who were tired and seemingly a bit cranky. These disciples who were asking God what He exactly wanted them to do with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Jesus fed those all around them until they were full. Now the disciples had fish and bread to eat instead of crow. Grace. That's what it is. God's sweet grace that extends to all.