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Abundant Blessings: Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Lent 2022

Read John 6:1-15

1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Regardless of how many times we have heard the story of the feeding of the five thousand, there are always new lessons we can learn). Maybe the first is to be reminded that God is the giver of all good things, and that we can always trust that our Lord will provide.

We often forget how much we really have in life. (Which is odd when we consider that the average American ranks somewhere in the top 1-10% of accumulated wealth in the world.) We find ways to complain or feel discouraged, get caught up in only seeing the things we don’t have, or envying how much more others have. Having so much can easily lead to thankless hearts and little desire or need for God. Of course, for those who lack basic needs, life can be consumed with fear and worry for the next meal, clean water, safety, or health. This lack can create bitterness, a broken spirit, or lack of trust in God or his word.

Because of this, our Lord calls us to a better way. He teaches us to rely on him, trust him in every need, and learn to be content with what he daily provides. Christ would neither have us fret, nor be filled with greed (no matter how much or little we have), but rather trust in him to sustain us according to his pleasure. He would have us see that we are poor and possess nothing except what he gives, and desires that we would be generous toward the needs of others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for all the gifts you provide and for all those whose work or presence brings your blessings to me. Since you have been abundantly generous to me, help me to be generous to the needs of others. Amen.

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