"When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, 'This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something to eat.' But he answered them, 'You give them something to eat.'" - Matthew 14: 15 - 16
"We can't do this . . . we don't have the money."
But at least sometimes it isn't a resource issue. It is a faith issue.
There were 5,000 hungry people in a desolate place, a long ways from even a "7 - 11" much less a "Safeway." Jesus said to the disciples, "You give them something to eat." They took inventory.
And you know what they found.
Five loaves and two fish. Enough for a family picnic, not enough for a hungry crowd of 5,000.
I am absolutely certain that if I had been among the disciples at that moment I would have complained that this was ridiculous and that Jesus needed to get real.
But I have been there, and you have too. Maybe you're there now? "There" is where there's a huge gap, a yawning chasm, between the need before you and the resources at hand. By a factor of, oh say, 1,000. "This is ridiculous — Jesus will you please get real."
I don't know how everyone got fed that day.
But I do know this: when the disciples gave what they had to Jesus, he took it, he blessed it, he used it — and there was enough.
It's not always a resource issue. Sometimes it's a faith issue. When we offer what we have and who we are to Jesus a new — unexpected — reality comes into being. "And all ate and were filled," (Matthew 14: 20).
We keep looking for more money, for more bread; is it really money we need — or faith and courage? Help us, O God, to discern what we truly need. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.