This week we finished up our two-week series called Be the Change, inspired by the quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We looked at the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes in John 6. In John’s version of this story, a young boy offers his bread and fish to Jesus to help feed people. When the disciple Andrew sees the meager offering, he inquires, “What good is that for a crowd like this?” That is a question that perhaps many of us ask in our lives. What good is my talent in the midst of people so much more talented than me? What good is my voice in a room full of people with much more wisdom? What good is my $20 with a need of $20,000? We live in a culture of scarcity, a mindset of never enough.
Yet Jesus has a profound response to this culture of scarcity. In this story, Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish, gave thanks to God, and gave it to the crowds gathered. Somehow the baskets of bread never emptied, and everyone had enough to eat. In this story, Jesus shows himself as the great provider, who can bring enough and even abundance out of the things we view as scarce. The young boy didn’t listen to the voice of scarcity, he chose to offer what he had to Jesus. The young boy chose to be the change and offer his gifts to Christ. He trusted God to provide and believed God was the source of blessing. What if we resisted the mindset of scarcity and trust that God provides? What if we offered our own forms of five loaves of bread and two fish to God?
From the UMCOR Sager Brown mission trip to Project Read to youth mission trips to small groups and Sunday Schools- all these ministries and missions exist because someone stepped up and said, “Yes, I’ll be the change.” These ministries transform lives because someone offered to God their own forms of five loaves of bread and two fish to God and trusted God to use them to be a force for good in the world. The next time you ask yourself the question “What good is that for a crowd like this?” remember the young boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish. Remember that our offerings have the capacity to be the change and do good in our world. Trust that God has the power to bring enough and even abundance out of the things we sometimes see as scarce.
“The world lies in the power of the evil one. The world does not recognize the light that shines in the darkness. It never did; it never will. But there are people, who in the midst of the world, live with the knowledge that he is alive and dwells within us, that he has overcome the power of death and opens the way of glory. Are there people who come together, who come around the table and do what he did, in memory of him? Are there people who keep telling each other the stories of hope and, together, go out to care for their fellow human beings, not pretending to solve all problems, but to bring a smile to a dying man and a little hope to a lonely child? It is so little, so spectacular, yes, so hidden, this Eucharistic life, but it is like yeast, like a mustard see, like a smile on a baby’s face. It is what keeps faith, hope, and love alive in a world that is constantly on the brink of self-destruction.” – Henri Nouwen
Monday- John 6:1-14
Tuesday- Matthew 14:13-21
Wednesday- Mark 6:30-43
Thursday- Luke 9:10-17
Friday- Psalm 147:1-20
* As you read the different versions of the feeding of the five thousand this week, consider these questions: How are the stories alike? How are they different from each other?
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
- Where in your life do you have a scarcity mindset?
- What are your own forms of “bread and fish” that you can offer to God?