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You Give Them Something To Eat

And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude;
and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying,
"This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late.
Send the multitudes away,
that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food."
But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away.
You give them something to eat."
And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
He said, "Bring them here to Me."
Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass.
And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples;
and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
So they all ate and were filled,
and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.
Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men,
besides women and children.
Matthew 14:14-21

Beyond all the economic data and outlook of banks failing, stock markets plummeting, people losing their jobs or businesses, retirement funds, savings, investments and such, we now see an increasing number of people starving and dying each day! These people wake up hungry every day. Until they sleep, they feel that way. They don't know what it is like to be full, and their only simple hopes and wishes are just to be able to have a meal, and some water to drink.

Beyond the economic numbers, we encounter another great number - multitudes and multitudes of people facing hunger, poverty, starvation, sicknesses and deaths! These people are not living in far away countries such as Africa, India, Burma or China. They are living in the midst of us, right where we live, in our neighbourhoods! Our neighbours!

Food prices are rising in the midst of the current crisis and recession. According to the World Bank, a hundred million more people have been pushed into poverty. As many as two billion human lives, especially children, are suffering and verging on disastrous grounds of malnutrition and hunger. Almost half the world's population live on less than US$2.50 per day. More than a billion do not have proper drinking water. Annually, millions die of hunger and starvation.

As the stock markets around the world tumble and fall, and the economies around the world struggling and trying to find their bottoms, it is good to pause and think that more than the loss of money; we are dealing with the loss of mankind! As the rich and not-so-poor people struggle with their financial losses and woes, they would cut back on their gifts and charities towards the poor and needy. As they do so, they simply cut off the life lines by taking food out of the mouths of suffering children, and shutting off the water taps, sending multitudes and multitudes of lives into greater despair and devastation!

What would Jesus do when He faced such multitudes of people? Jesus would have compassion on them and feed them! But what would His disciples do? His twelve disciples would do otherwise. They would send the multitudes away so that they would not have to think, care or even consider the plights of the multitudes or how to feed these thousands of people! The twelve disciples were tired. They too were hungry and thirsty. They just wanted to rest and to take care of their own needs.

But Jesus looked at His disciples and said, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." Jesus chose to work miracles with His disciples, and through them, others would be blessed. He wanted them to be involved not so much as the working of signs and wonders, miracles and amazing things - He wanted them to know and feel His heart of love, and to have the same compassion for these multitudes!

As human beings with limited resources and abilities, the disciples made their own mental calculations, and said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fishes." How to feed five thousand men with just five loaves and two fishes? It was impossible! Yes, it is impossible with men. But with God, all things are possible. Nothing is impossible with God!

Jesus looked at the five loaves and two fishes. He knew it was more than enough! He looked up to heaven, and saw God the Father! He knew the Father's heart, and He did the Father's will! He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to His disciples; and His disciples gave to the multitudes. As the disciples were giving away the loaves and fishes, they saw the miracles and they also got fed! They all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

I believe that God still works the feeding of the multitudes through simply five loaves and two fishes, and God still chooses to work these miracles through us, His beloved children and disciples! I can almost hear Him saying, "Don't send them away! You give them something to eat."

Yes, we give them something to eat! It is not about whether we have little or plenty! It is about whether we have the compassion for these people. It is about whether we know our God Who works miracles, signs and wonders! It is about putting whatever little or much that we have into the Master's hands, and see how He can break them and bless them, and feed the multitudes. And as we do so, we too will be blessed and fed. We too will be filled with compassion for these multitudes! We too will become people of passion and love!

We are now living in days of great darkness and uncertainty. What lies ahead, nobody knows. Not able to see one thing in front of us, what must we do in all areas of our lives including our finances, giftings and talents? We just have to trust and obey God. We just have to go straight, not turning right or left, knowing that He holds our hands and leads us all the way! And along the journey, let us be a blessing to those along the way. Somehow, somewhat God will test our hearts to see whether we truly love our neighbours or not.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need,
and shuts up his heart from him,
how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue,
but in deed and in truth.
And by this we know that we are of the truth,
and shall assure our hearts before Him.
(1 John 3:16-19)

And there can be miracles when we believe in God our Father in heaven! Five loaves and 2 fishes are more than enough to feed the multitudes!

Written on:
24 October 2008