Friday, November 5, 2010

The extra chunks

Okay, I've been thinking about this one Bible story for a while.
It's a pretty common one about Jesus found in Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus feeds five thousand people with two fishes and five loaves of bread that a conscientious mother packed for her son before sending him out to listen to the rabbi.

I've been a Christian for 24 years now, raised in Sunday School and Children's church. I saw a flannelgraph of this story back when they used those. Every time I read it, I think, "Wow, Jesus is so cool. He can create. Really. Still." And then I thank him and pray for mustard-seed faith.
But this time, for the first time ever, my whole mind hitched on a new element, found in verse 20. And I quote, "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over."

Twelve baskets of broken pieces that were picked up. I don't think they tidied up to guard against littering fines. I think Jesus and his men, and probably some of the hungry who came, ate those pieces. The blessing didn't end when the last person tore a hunk off the never-ending loaf, it kept blessing for twelve whole baskets.

I hate to admit it, but I think if I'd been there and Jesus told us to pick it up, I'd be like "Why? Everyone's had enough already. We don't need it. Besides, some of it has fallen on the ground. There could be grass bits."

But Jesus didn't consider that. Blessing is not just for the moment, not only for the immediate need. If we're good stewards and can see outside of one moment, we will be amazed at how many people one blessing can touch. Crazy.

Thank you, God, that you overwhelm me in moments. And thank you that those moments are in fact timeless through your crazy power to reach through time, space, circumstance. Please let me not waste your blessing. Let me not eat my fill and drop crumbs to the ground. Show me where there is extra bread in my life that I might gather it up and create blessings beyond my moment, that your name may be greater praised and your love more broadly felt.
All my love!


  1. I hadn't thought of it that way. Good point.

  2. One of the other things I love about this story (it's my favorite of the miracles, by the way :) ) is that it occurs right after Jesus finds out that John the Baptist has been beheaded. He has gone to mourn by himself and is interrupted by the problem of the masses needing to be fed. A friend of mine wrote a song about this and she says basically when faced with this issue... "He chose compassion over exhaustion." I try and remind myself of this when I am tired, worn out, stressed out, and ready to complain about my life. This was a big idea for me while interning and even now with Thomas as he is completely reliant on me and I am exhausted and wanting to sleep. Jesus chose compassion and met the needs of those around Him because He knew God would sustain Him. God will sustain us and even bless us when we trust in Him.