That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” – Matthew 14:15-17
Don’t you get the impression that the disciples tell Jesus boldly, “We have nothing here!” and then continue, under their breath, “ . . . (except five loaves of bread and two fish)”? That’s how the story reads to me, anyway. It might be that they’re being a bit stingy. They packed their lunches, and it’s not their fault that no one else was responsible enough to do the same.
But I think it’s more likely that they are simply overwhelmed by the immensity of the need. We’ll find out in a few verses that the crowds number somewhere between 5,004 and, say, 25,000. That’s more than the entire population of Hood River, even on a weekend in the summer. We have some idea of the magnitude of resources it takes FISH Food Bank to help feed only those people in our area suffering food insecurity. If all it took was five loaves of bread and two fish, we wouldn’t be building a 5,600 square foot facility on our campus for food outreach. It seems completely reasonable that, in face of such great need, the disciples would feel that their meager resources wouldn’t do any good. Better to leave it to someone else.
That is often our natural response in face of overwhelming need. Whether it is hunger, violence, disease, climate, poverty, or something else, we often find ourselves feeling as if there is nothing we can do. We are too small, too insignificant. What difference could we possibly make, anyway?
Like those disciples, we often underestimate two things. First, we underestimate the resources that we actually have. We have an attitude of scarcity that leads us to hold onto what we have, thinking that it is far too little for us, and certainly not enough to share. But we do have resources, skills, time, energy, money, that can be used to confront the world’s greatest needs.
Second, we underestimate the power of God to multiply our efforts. Sometimes all it takes is one person to offer up themselves and what little they have, and then God is able to inspire others to join in, to open doors that were previously closed, to make a miracle.
No one thought four years ago that FISH would be able to raise over $1 million to build a new food bank. But a few people started anyway, with what little they had. And now look what God has brought to fruition! If God can do that, if God can feed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish, what other amazing things can God do through us and what little we have?
Yours in Christ,
++ Women’s Spirituality meets this Saturday Aug 2nd at 9am in the church office.
++ Faith In Action meeting is Mon Aug 4th at 10:15 in the Fellowship Hall.
++ WELCA Yard Sale Saturday Aug 9th from 8am to 1pm. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex for volunteers to organize, price, and sell, etc. Items may be dropped off from 9 to 11 Mon 4th to Fri 8th at the church. Items may be left outside the church front door if those times don’t work for you. Call Kathy Terry 541-386-2308 or Marlene Lahti 541-386-1568 with any questions.
++ Pastor David King’s Installation will be Sunday August 10th at 2:00pm. There will be an ice cream social following.
++ The Celebration Service is looking for people who would be willing to share special music during the rest of summer. Also, if you have a green thumb and know how to graft, please contact Linda Boris.
++ SPRC committee meets Sunday August 24th at 11:30 with Pastor David attending.
++ Current choir members and anyone interested in joining choir, are invited to attend a potluck supper at Morning Song Acres on Thurs August 28th at 6pm.
++ FISH Food Bank duty is Monday Aug 18th; Wed 20th; and Fri 22nd.