This may seem very similar to verses we read in the last chapter when Jesus fed 5,000 men (plus women and children). These are two distinct happenings. We see the number of people following Jesus expanding. In Jesus’ own words, “I have compassion for these people.”
For three days the people have stayed. Jesus has healed many. People were amazed and gave praise to the God of Israel. They understood that much, where the power came from. So what about the disciples? Having already seen a miraculous feeding, where was their faith?
Think about how you respond when you face overwhelming situations. Do you remember how God has provided for you in the past? Or do you flounder a bit in a fit of worry? What might help stimulate your memory of God’s mercy? Does it help to hear stories such as these where compassion and provision are plentiful? We are often blinded by the immensity of our problems and we, too, forget from where our help comes from.
It’s easy for us to point fingers at the disciples and scoff at them a bit. We have no idea how much time has actually passed between the two miraculous feedings. The gospel account is putting stories together, but they aren’t necessarily a daily chronicle of events. Certainly, if it was only a day or two between it would seem very strange they had forgotten so quickly.
In the face of adversity (not having enough food), what did Jesus do? He gathered what they had and gave thanks. Isn’t that a beautiful example for us? We may have a fraction of what we need, but if we give thanks for our fraction, God can multiply for us, too. Do we believe that?
We’ve see it happen. Both times Jesus thanked God for the provision. Each time, there was more than enough. We would be wise to take this teaching to heart and apply it to our own lives and situations.
Is there something going on in your life right now that is causing you concern? Are you afraid you won’t have enough of something? Are you letting that fear paralyze you? Do you need a reminder that God is there for you, too?
Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for how you are working things out for me. Forgive me when I try to make things happen by my own strength. You are so much better at problem-solving than I am. May I always look to you first. I thank you for what I have and want to be a good steward to care for those things. Multiply them, Lord, as you see fit. I am grateful beyond words that you have my back and watch out for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.