Who are you in this story? The boy who is kind enough to share, even though it may not be enough? Are you one of the disciples, more anxious about spending too much money than about caring for their neighbors? Maybe you are one of the people in the crowd, distracted from listening to Jesus because you are hungry. Most of us take on varying roles in this story as the context around us changes.
I’m often worried about my own needs. When I travel to conferences, I bring little bags of dried fruit and nuts because I’m anxious that I will get hungry between meals. Over the years I’ve learned that this is a ridiculous worry. Most often the problem is too much food, not too little! And yet every trip I arrive with treats tucked into my knitting, right next to my notebook, extra pens, and a charger for my phone. On the trip home almost all of my snacks remain.
It is interesting that in this story, no matter which role you play, you get enough to eat. Everyone has more than enough! The image is of the kingdom of God—so much food there are twelve baskets left over. Jesus brings about the time when there is more than enough for everyone. No one asks who was a complainer, who trusted God, who shared with their neighbors. The generous boy and his family get enough to eat; but so do the disciples, the people just there to listen, the people who came to prove Jesus wrong, even the woman in the back hoarding little bags of fruit and nuts.
There is no test of who is good enough for dinner.
We are certainly called to be disciples and to do right for others, but even if we don’t there is plenty in God’s kingdom.
Thank you, God, for the plenty of food that is found in your kingdom. Help me to be generous with what I have and confident that you will provide. Amen.
The Bible is filled with the stories of imperfect people. David is a classic case. In Second Samuel he uses his power to have sex with another man's wife, tries to cover it up, and then plots the murder of her husband. How can this be the same man who penned this week’s psalm, which decries the foolishness of people who act in a godless way? Like us, David was a fallen person who needed God’s extravagant mercy. In Ephesians we read of this same extravagance given through Christ, whose power can do what we cannot—namely redeem all of us who are also foolish and fallen. The Gospel author demonstrates the power of Jesus through what he describes as “signs,” which Jesus performed not primarily to amaze the onlookers but rather to point them to his identity as the Son of God.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-15. Where in today’s world do you see the selfishness of powerful people bringing tragedy for people with less power?
Read Psalm 14. Do you number yourself among the wise who “seek after God”? Why or why not?
Read Ephesians 3:14-21. How does “being rooted and grounded in love” manifest itself in your life?
Read John 6:1-21. Where do you see yourself in this story?
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