Scripture: Mark 6:30-46
Key verses: (41-42) Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled.
Reflection: What a stressful day Jesus’ closest disciples were having! They had just buried their friend, John the Baptist, after he was tragically murdered by Herod. After the funeral, Jesus suggests they leave for a while and rest. They get into a boat and go to a secluded place, but when they get there a great crowd of people meets them. These eager people followed them on foot around the shore of the lake. So instead of finding some welcome peace and quiet, they find over 5,000 people!
This is exactly what life is like. Just about the time you think you can’t do one more thing, another challenge presents itself. When Jesus saw the crowd, he wasn’t disappointed or frustrated that he wasn’t going to get a break. He didn’t get angry because he was tired. Instead, he felt compassion for the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So his fatigue faded and he began to teach them. The disciples wanted all of these people to go home. They ask Jesus to tell them to go. And Jesus tells the tired disciples to feed the crowd with what they had – five loaves of bread and two fish. Miraculously there was enough, and more, for everyone. No one went away hungry.
This story illustrates something bigger than one miracle. It shows what can happen when Jesus takes what we have and blesses it. Our weaknesses and deficits can be turned into something great. Our lives might seem small and insignificant, yet Jesus takes them and multiplies what we have for his purposes. When we are worn-out and discouraged by our circumstances, when we want to give up and go home, Jesus asks us, in the name of compassion, to give what we have so he can do something miraculous. This is the pattern of life when you follow Jesus. And, despite what happens in this story, there are times for rest and renewal. Take advantage of these times. Use them well. Don’t forget to get away to a secluded place, so that you will be equipped for the challenges of the long days.
Prayer: Compassionate God, you call us to serve you by serving others. Sometimes this seems more than we can bear and we just want to get away from the demands and pressures of life. Remind us to seek you in the secluded places of our lives so we might find rest. Enable us to experience renewed vigor so that we might be joyful disciples; not exhausted ones. Help us to rest in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[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].