Five loaves and two fish. That’s it, that’s all the disciples had. With these meager supplies Jesus fed a lot of people, but that’s not really what I find so fascinating in this passage. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Over five thousand people were gathered in this remote place. They didn’t catch a plane or hop in their cars to get there. They walked. Let’s picture for a second what it would look like to see more than 5,000 people walking anywhere. And then let’s ponder why they were willing to follow a man, on foot, to a remote place. They weren’t heading to an arena or a stadium with theater style seating. No worship band would be there. No one would be selling books, cds or dvds. No lineup of speakers to give carefully prepared messages. Nothing advertising a “move of the Spirit.” More than 5,000 people walked to just be with Jesus. And ever true to who He is, He “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (v.14)
So I ask you what I asked myself. When was the last time you went out of your way just to be with Jesus? No worship music, mesmerizing sermon, or cd’s for sale. Just the One who is compassion and healing and truth. “It’s been awhile”, I answered myself.
I guess in all fairness to us, they had someone they could actually see and hear. Someone in physical form to follow. Then again…
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:29
Is it possible for us to believe that 5,000 of us could gather together and find healing and compassion from Jesus? Just Jesus, without all the prep work we do, the musicians, the ambience, lights, videos and cameras. No microphones or sound boards. No candles or mood lighting. Just us, and Him. And does the thought of that seem as weird to you as it does to me, given what we have become so accustomed to? Given our craving to be entertained more than healed? I’m just asking.
And what about those loaves and the fish? My eyes skim over the fact that Jesus miraculously fed over 5,000 people and had leftovers, and land on the command He gave. “Bring them here to Me”… (v. 18)
We have so little, really. Our giftings, talents, money, time, compassion, mercy…those of us with the most of all of these, still have so little, here in the shadow of God. And we know it, deep down. Our “so little” is the root for so much of our anxiety and fear, because we know we don’t have enough. There isn’t enough time to do what needs to be done. Not enough money to build what needs to be built. Not enough energy to shepherd the flocks of God. Not enough of anything to build God’s Kingdom.
It’s when we “Bring them here to Me”, that what little we have becomes more than enough.
And that makes me want to go out of my way to be with Him. Just Him.