“You give them something to eat.”
That was Jesus’ response when the disciples asked him to send the people away. It was late in the day and they were in a remote place. After giving instructions to settle them into groups, Jesus blessed the food and the disciples served them. About five thousand were fed that day.
I remember a time when I was afraid to ask God to grow me. As a budding Christ-follower, I had a sense that if I asked, He would answer and I didn’t know exactly what would come next. Probably, I was afraid of what I’d have to give up and I wasn’t quite ready for that part of the Christian experience. But I knew the day would come when I would ask and so I started praying. I prayed that I would see His path, hear His words and act without fear. Time passed, I continued to do what I thought I was supposed to do and He continued to love me. Along the way, I saw this scripture as a marker in my life, a call to grow. I realized that over the years, I’d been fed by family and friends, each who nurtured me in their own way: my wife who has loved me so wholly as to round-off the sharp edges in my heart; my family who have encouraged and supported me, whether it’s a simple hug or a loving word. I remember that visits to the in-laws usually involved going to church and jogging. I dreaded both, but it worked – the seed planted has sprouted. My weeks are now planned around going to church and jogging. There are friends who showed me how to find my calling, who soul-stormed with me to find the place where my passion leads. A 5k Mission was born of this – food was collected and awareness raised for those in need. Other friends involved me in street ministry and showed me how to see and love the homeless. They were so patient and gave me room to grow in a meaningful way; they helped me find my voice.
For all the prayers, all the love and support I’ve received, I see how much I’ve been fed. And now He is calling me, ‘to give them something to eat.’ You see, when Jesus fed the five thousand he gave the disciples an opportunity to serve and love the people. It was training, to go into this crowd and give them food and encouragement, to build relationships and establish themselves. To love. Jesus was making them known. That’s huge. It’s important. And it’s awesome.
He calls me ‘to give them something to eat,’ not just through deeds, but with words. There is a testimony, my testimony, that’s woven into the fabric of His grace and it must be shared. At times I want to cry out, ‘Lord, not me!’ It’s a fleeting thought – the enemy never ceases to attack. But I believe God wouldn’t have brought me to this point if He hadn’t prepared me for it. He is making me known, and though it gives me an initial shock, I’m grateful, so blessed, to have the opportunity to feed others.