I’ve been in a bit of a break for the last couple of weeks, but now I’m back and ready to kick it into high gear with the daily reading plan and blog post.  It’s good to take a break from time to time in order to rest and regain some perspective.  It’s always nice to be back into the swing of things, too.  So, as we dive into part of today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke, let’s be prepared to challenge ourselves to hear a word from the Lord.

The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is incredible on so many levels:

  • The fact that so many people were fed on just a few loaves and a couple of fish is incredible.
  • The faith of the child who brings the food.
  • The lack of faith in the disciples, who think it’s impossible.

I’ve heard people talk about this story as though the feeding itself isn’t really a miracle.  All Jesus really did was inspire people to share with others.  It’s one way of looking at this story, but I think that the gospel writers would know the difference between people sharing and the crowd being miraculously fed.  Is it possible that they framed this story in such a way to make a point?  Sure, I suppose, but all four gospel writers, with their different agendas and audiences, all just so happen to frame the story the same way?  Seems doubtful to me.

As I read this story today, though, something else sticks out to me.  The disciples want to send the people away.  They don’t want to deal with the problem, they just want it to go away.  Jesus calls them on it.  He says, “You feed them.”  Jesus doesn’t want them to abdicate their responsibility; he wants them to get involved, get their hands dirty, do something about it.

In the church, we often act like the disciples.  Instead of dealing with the issues, we go to Jesus and say, “Send them away.”  But that’s not how things get done.  Jesus looks back at us and says, “Deal with it.”  There are always going to be challenges.  What do we do with those challenges?

Do we…

  • go to the pastor and tell him/her that it’s his/her job to ______ (fill in the blank)
  • complain about it to people that aren’t involved with the situation (also known as triangulation, an unhealthy way of dealing with issues)
  • withhold our presence, gifts, talents and resources until we get our way
  • try to figure out a way of dealing with the issue

Jesus challenges his disciples to do something more.  He doesn’t want them to be complacent bystanders.  He wants them to take ownership.  He doesn’t want them to just point out the problem, but to do something about it… and ignoring it, or sending the people away, is not a viable solution.

The next time something comes up, remember Jesus’ words to his disciples, “You feed them.”  Take care of the issues in front of you.  Don’t pass them off to somebody else.