“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.

It is also interesting that prior to Jesus’ blessing and breaking, Jesus asked the disciples to feed the crowd. But they respond, “We have nothing but five loaves and two fish” (Matthew 14:17, emphasis added).

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The “but” in their response comes from a place of fear. Fear prevents the disciples from seeing what Jesus sees. While they only see five loaves and two fish, Jesus sees the abundance. They only see a snack, while Jesus sees the main course. 

Little is much in the hands of Christ. 

Fear does the same to us. It prevents us from seeing that what we already have is much in the hands of Christ. Fear prevents us from taking that risking step to try something new. It prevents us from inviting that person we need to forgive for lunch. Fear prevents us from seeing the needs of those around us, and how we can care for them. 

Fear is the great paralyzer of faith.

The opposite of fear is hope. Hope is our oxygen, giving us air to live. Every aspect of life, from planting seeds to raising children, is built on hope. Without hope, life can become chaotic and meaningless. 

When we say “We have nothing but . . . .” we are clinging to fear, not hope. 

Whether as individuals or as a congregation, hope empowers us to see as Christ sees. Hope reminds us that little is much in the hands of Christ. Hope empowers us to be faithful and give the abundance away.

How is fear holding you back? 

Lord, you called us to be people of faith. Yet, too often, we are people of fear. Forgive us and grant us courage to live in hope. Amen.