I am thankful this week for the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand in Mark. What I’ve noticed is the context for this miracle, and applying his words to my job as a busy wife/mom has been an encouragement.
Jesus says “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.” Why? “For many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat.” Moms know this feeling. Most days I get down to grabbing some lunch for myself once both kids are in bed for naps and long after hunger strikes.
So off they go for some precious R&R. Sounds great doesn’t it?
And then the kids wake up too early.
“Many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.”
Oh great. So nice to see you.
Not so much.
Of course the disciples were in touch with what Jesus wanted for them: a quiet retreat.
Jesus saw that they were sheep without a shepherd and had compassion on them and taught them.
The disciples weren’t about to forget, though: and when it was time to eat they were quick to suggest that they return to their former course. “Send them away!”
This was our time to rest and re-fuel, wasn’t it?
“You give them something to eat,” Jesus says, unimpressed, unmoved.
What, are you kidding? Don’t you remember how we were headed into the mountains to rest and pray? We are exhausted. Argh.
So the disciples magnanimously go in their own strength and ingenuity and gather up so much food that five thousand people would have enough. What a lot of food! What wonderful, tireless, strong disciples!
Not so much.
They went and found five loaves and two fish and Jesus made it into enough for the need at hand.
We are worn and weary and less than enthused about the service before us, and Jesus says “Serve” and then he makes our service what it needs to be. We have no strength? But this is no excuse, because Jesus didn’t ask them to feed 5000. He asked them to go and see what they had and bring it. They were faithful and that was plenty.