Leftover Food

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-17

You get some insight into how, spiritually hungry, people wanted to be near Jesus and hear his teaching. Matthew says that the crowds remarked about how credible and strong his teachings were, compared to their own teachers, (Matthew 7:29). Jesus also healed their sick ones. Their hunger for what Jesus had to give them was so strong, they did not even think or care to bring food.

Luke said that on this particular day, dusk was approaching, but the crowds showed no interest in leaving to either find housing and food or to return to their homes. Maybe like a concert crowd that keeps applauding for encore after encore.

The disciples were pragmatics, so when they told him it was time to send the folks home, Jesus said, “No, you feed them.” They said something like, “Lord, we did an inventory, and we found only five loaves of bread and two fish. We’d be crazy to try to feed this crowd with that. And we certainly don’t have enough money between us to buy food for them.”

That’s what you say when you live in a scarcity environment. “We don’t have enough.” That’s what you do when you think that everything depends on you. In the case of the disciples, they showed no faith or possibility thinking, given that they were in the presence of Jesus who walked on water, healed lepers, and restored sight. How do you say, “We don’t have enough”?

The feeding of the 5000 gives insight into the generosity of God, almost as if to say, “If you thought feeding 5000 was huge, look at the 12 baskets of leftovers!” It demonstrates the role that hope must play in our lives. Call it spiritual possibility thinking. What if the disciples had said, “That’s a big ask you’ve given us Jesus, but we believe it is possible”? It would have been a different story.

Something to think about: When do you allow scarcity thinking to govern the way you live? What about scarcity thinking makes it so faithless?

Something to pray about: Father, there are great examples of people who lived outside of their doubts. Abraham left home trusting you to lead him. Paul left a former life to take up the life to which Jesus called him. These, and people like them, give us a picture of how we should be living too. Please empower us with your spirit to do so. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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