Our scripture this morning is Matthew 14:13-21.
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!”
This well known story has a phrase I had rushed past for many years. The disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away to buy food, but Jesus answers “you feed them” (v. 16). This instruction has a double lesson for us.
The disciples are understandably confused. Jesus has given them a task, but they tell Him they lack the resources. This is often our thinking as well, that the problem is too large and we are too small.
What Jesus wants them (and us) to realize is that we are limited, but He is not. We can’t accomplish what is asked of us unless we count on Him for help. This is the same lesson that was being taught to their ancestors in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, that we must rely on God for our strength. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” When we lean on God for our support, nothing is impossible.
Loving Lord, we are sorry for the times we try to go it alone and fail. Help us to follow in faith, asking Your blessing and guidance in all we do. Amen.