The Narrative Lectionary reading for today is Mark 6:30-44 (This is one of the weeks where we skip many sections between weekends, so there is a reading each day this week). This is the familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.
Here are some observations from the text:
- It’s good to take a break sometimes. The disciples had just returned from visiting villages across the countryside. They traveled two by two and healed the sick, cast out demons, and proclaimed the Kingdom of God to all who had ears to hear. It was hard work and Jesus told them that they needed to rest. He led them to withdraw to a deserted place for a while.This is a healing balm and the Good News to the ears of an introvert, like me. We must never allow ourselves to think that taking time for self-care is selfish. Jesus withdrew to the lonely places regularly. We must recharge if we are going to be any good for people in the long run. Steven Covey says we are like saws. If you don’t take time to sharpen the saw, it will eventually cease to be able to cut wood.
- The people will find you.Sometimes we can’t escape people who want something from us. Jesus led the disciples to the quiet place to recharge, but the people hunted them down and invaded their sanctuary. I believe this is why it specifies that Jesus had compassion on them. Had it been me, and someone pounded on my door on my day off, I may have been a little miffed. In the end, we must let compassion win; even when our down time gets interrupted. I can’t tell you the number of times my Dad, a pastor, was called home early from a vacation because of a death or tragedy in the congregation. Frustrating? Yes. But, compassion wins.
- God will provide.The people didn’t think this one through. The mob followed Jesus and the disciples into a barren, desolate place. Their immediate need outweighed any foresight. That is how people in desperate situations function. When you are truly in need, you do not have the luxury of planning ahead. You live in the moment and hope that the next moment comes.The picture of Jesus with the desperate crowd in the desert is a parallel to Moses in the wilderness with the newly freed slaves in Exodus. They had just been freed from a terrible situation, with the promise of a new life when they arrived in the Promised Land. But now, in this moment, there was no food. They stepped out in faith into a seemingly impossible situation. That’s when God shows up.
I hope there is something for you in these words today.