“Immediately he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.” (Matthew 14:22, NRSV)
The first time we left our daughter longer than a couple of days I kept a straight face, but deep inside, I was a wreck. Megan and I went on a trip to Mexico, and our daughter stayed the week with my mom. And even though I knew she would be safe, cared for, and loved, I was still a wreck. “Will she be okay without us for this long?”
I can hear what you’re thinking, “Just wait until she goes to college.”
I’m not sure I can handle that.
“Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14:19, NRSV)
It is interesting that Jesus blesses and breaks the bread, but does not give it away himself. Instead, he gives the food to his disciples, and instructs them to give it away.
Jesus asks the same of us. We have been given the huge task of communicating Jesus to others. But Jesus does not demand that we all become academic theologians or world-class preachers. After all, little is much in the hands of Christ.
“Then he said to his slaves,‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’” (Matthew 22:8-9, NRSV)
Sarah Cummins had spent over $30,000 on her perfect day before the Indiana woman canceled the wedding. Faced with the reality of a reception contract that could not be canceled, Cummins made the decision to invite the homeless to the wedding feast.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2, NIV)
Food is essential to the nourishment of our bodies.
One of the things that is often overlooked is how much it costs to eat healthy. In areas known as “food deserts,” places where there are no grocery stores or farmer’s markets, there is certain to be a McDonald’s or Hardee’s. In places where food is needed, it is usually found cheap and unhealthy.
In the meantime, others run the risk of living beyond abundance. Instead of sharing resources, they take more than their share. Instead of giving, they waste. Instead of being faithful stewards, they are greedy and unjust.
“And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.” (Matthew 14:20, NRSV)
The church potluck was a vital part of my faith formation. The body of Christ gathering together in fellowship, making connections across the tables. All the while wondering, “Will there be enough food?”
There were no RSVPs or sign ups. Everyone who came brought a dish. It may have been a new receipe they were trying out, or it was a well-known receipe. At our house it was always my mom’s potatoe salad. If she didn’t make it, people wondered where it was.