Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Feeding the 5000--or just 40

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live when Jesus was on the earth? I have. I love to imagine myself as one of his disciples (I’m sure I would have understood so much more than them—ha!). Or as the widow who gave her mites. Or as the innkeeper or good Samaritan. Or as a bystander when he was teaching.

One of my favorite stories is when he took 5 loaves and 2 fishes and turned it into enough food to feed 5000 and still have a basket-full left for each disciple. Out of all of those people, do you think only one boy brought his lunch? And even better, that he was willing to share it? Most boys I know might have remembered to bring their lunch, but I can't imagine them being willing to share it with friends, let alone strangers.

But the one person who is not talked about in the story that fascinates me the most, is the boy’s mom. Most likely—even back then—his mama made him that lunch. I wonder if she put a note in it with a smiley face? Or packed a napkin folded just so? Do you think she packed enough for him to share with a friend? She had no idea that in her effort to feed her child, she would be a part of a huge miracle.

That out of her taking care of one that she knew, Jesus would take care of thousands.

I kinda feel like that mom right now. I pack my kiddos lunches with extra stuff. I know they aren’t supposed to share food, but there’s a part of me that hopes they will be able to one day and I want to be ready. See, my kids attend a Title 1 school. That means that more than 30% of the kids at our school are on the free/reduced lunch program. Breakfast and lunch are sometimes the only meals those kiddos get.

I posted about this last year. And I told some people about the needs, but nothing happened. I wanted it to, but didn’t know what to do to make it start moving--our family was barely making ends meet, so I was not in a position to help anyone else out financially. So I sat back and hoped the urge to do something would go away. But it didn't.

That same tugging came again this year. And I hesitated. Did I really want to “bug” people with my kids’ needy school again? Everybody’s probably already into their own thing, right?

But I called the counselor anyway. And I found out that she was sending backpacks of food home for 6 kids every weekend. So I sent an email. Just one email to a few people.

BUT GOD, in His infinite wisdom, saw that the email went to the right people and they responded in a HUGE way. I was able to make a call back to the counselor and let her know that we could cover those 6 kiddos for Thanksgiving and Christmas break so that they would have meals each day that they were not receiving them from the school.

But it grew. Instead of just feeding 6, it became enough to feed 40 (with the numbers at my girls' school rising to 8).

So, I feel a little like that boy’s mom. Except that I didn’t even make a lunch. And I didn't organize the distribution. And I didn't really spread the word beyond the first few I emailed. But, like her, I had no clue what God could do with a simple request.

Not sure what the point to this post is except to say that God blesses obedience. Even when we don’t see why He is calling us to do something, if He asks, we should do. He can take 5 loaves and 2 fishes (or one simple ask of a few friends) and turn it into enough to feed 5000 (or 40).

As my favorite pastor says, “The task is ours. The results are His.”

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