What was supposed to be a quiet retreat is swarmed by thousands of people. When the disciples urge Jesus to send the crowds away to find food, he insists that the they feed them—when they themselves have just returned from journeying with no money or food. What hey find isn’t hopeful: a child’s lunch. Nevertheless, the meal is multiplied by gratitude. Jesus gives thanks, breaks and distributes the bread—a sort of rehearsal of the meal he will share with his disciples before his death. Just as a feast for the multitudes is yielded from the breaking of few humble loaves, so also abundant life with God is yielded from the breaking of the body of Christ. We are all invited to receive this bread thankfully and by doing so receive eternal life. Christ multiplies his life in us so that we are never wanting. We have everything we need and more in him, the Bread of Life.
- Read Mark 6:30–44.
- Ask God for his provision and for a heart of gratitude.
- See the eager and helpless multitude—“sheep without a shepherd.” See the disciples growing tired and antsy. Watch Jesus give thanks for small portion, break the bread, and begin to distribute it. Take and taste the bread and fish. Watch the disciples pass out the food, while it mysteriously multiplies and never runs out. Look over all the leftovers that no one can even finish.
- Reflect on the helplessness of the crowd. What are they looking for? Notice how Jesus’ compassion overwhelms his desire for privacy and rest. Get into the disciples’ side of the story—what are they feeling, thinking, doing?
- Talk with Jesus as he breaks and distributes the bread. What in your life never seems like it is enough (time, money, energy)? Give thanks for exactly that thing, seeing it as a gift. Ask God that however much he has given you would be more than enough. Then let that thing go, and spend time focusing not on what you lack, but on all that God has given in his Son.
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC