A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: Our Upper Room Devotional Team at Urban Ministry Center, as they lead devotions with homeless men and women during the lunch hour.
Scripture: Mark 6:30-46
Key verses 30-32: 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Reflection: This is the familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5000. A crowd listens to him teach late into the day. The disciples get worried that the people have nothing to eat. Jesus sends them to find provisions and they return with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus multiplies the food to feed the entire crowd, with more leftover. It’s a great story of an amazing miracle, and of sharing, and of trust. It also teaches an important lesson about our own needs as disciples, in relationship with others.
At the start of it the disciples themselves are tired and hungry. They have been busy with many people and “had no leisure even to eat.” Jesus calls them to come away and rest. He is good at heading off by himself when he needs to rest, rejuvenate, and pray. Perhaps he wants to instill the same balance in his followers. Imagine the relief of the disciples when they get into the boat with Jesus, headed for dinner and a nap. Instead, when they arrive onshore, they are greeted by a crowd again. Jesus has compassion on the crowd and begins to teach them. So much for rest and food for the disciples. I wonder if their eventual suggestion to let the crowd go find something to eat is really about themselves. The story never does say if or when the disciples got their dinner. When they have served the whole crowd and gathered the leftovers, they immediately get into the boat again and head out on a windy sea. According to Mark, when the boat lands again, Jesus and the disciples are again immediately surrounded by a crowd, this time needing healing.
Sometimes our needs are eclipsed by the needs of those around us. Sometimes faithfulness means postponing our plans in order to serve. And sometimes it is in serving in faith, that our real needs are met as well.
Prayer: Lord, you have compassion on all your people. When I want to serve myself first, and take care of my needs while ignoring the needs of others, forgive me. Teach me that you provide. Teach me to give and to love with my eyes on you. In your name I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].