Friday of Pentecost 10 – Matthew 14:13-21  

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Once a month we met, rotating around to each other’s churches. We were the Christian pastors in Bountiful, UT. Bountiful was then a community with over 92% of its residents identifying as LDS (Mormon.) Only the Roman Catholic parish saw attendance over 100 folks on a Sunday. My congregation had about 40 on a good weekend. We were not an impressive group. But at least one member of the ministerial association had faith to see the world through eyes of Jesus (I must admit, it was not me.) We started talking about a recent article in the local paper which had highlighted food insecurity. Many of the people in our seemingly affluent community were barely making house and car payments. If they had an unexpected expense, they would not have enough to feed their family till the next paycheck. We all had stories of folks who could not afford to furnish the beautiful home they purchased. What could we do? It was the Baptist and the UCC pastors who both challenged us to open a food bank. I was dubious, I have to admit. We assayed our congregations and determined that our small parishes would be able to support 20 families, twice per month with a couple bags of groceries. It was modest, but we elected to go forward. The UCC parish had some space and was on a busy street. They would host.

Jesus had once more said, “You feed them.” Some listened, some doubted, but we opened a food bank. Within a year Jesus worked a miracle. We had a gymnasium full of food and were supporting over 200 families per month. Many things went into that, but I am convinced that Jesus was behind them all. He still cares about hungry people.

I think about those disciples facing thousands of hungry people with only five loaves of bread and two dried fish. Did they whisper “Come and get it” in response to Jesus’ command? What was it like to reach into that basket and just keep pulling out more and more bread? I think I got a little taste of that when I walked through the stacks of food in the UCC gymnasium behind the foodbank distribution site. We had not let our meager resources discourage us from doing what Jesus asked us to do. We started handing out food. Jesus took care of making sure that it was enough.

What is he asking you to do today? It will likely take faith and courage. You should probably do it. He will love you nonetheless no matter what you do, but you should probably do it. You might just get to reach into what should be an empty basket and pull out yet another serving of the bread of life.

Scroll to Top