Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feeding the Hungry...Crazy

That evening the disciples came to Him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "That isn't necessary—you feed them." "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!" they answered. "Bring them here," He said. Then He told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, He gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. (Matthew 14:15-19 NLT)

Often times, I think, we can shrink God down to size by looking at His miraculous signs and say, "I can do that."  Feeding the hungry presents a perfect opportunity for just such a thought.  Jesus is just about to feed the hungry masses.  So should we.

God tells us to feed the hungry.  In fact, His parable about the last days indicates that feeding the hungry will be on the list of reasons we are "blessed" at the final judgement.  So, we feed the hungry.  We can do that!

Programs in our local church body have fed the hungry for years now.  "Help us help the homeless" has become "help us feed the need."  The last "feed the need" campaign brought in over 8,000 lbs of food for our local food shelter.  More recently, we've added "500 Turkeys" to feed 500 families full meals at Thanksgiving.  This past year it fed over 600.  Praise God!

Before we get too full of ourselves, though, it's important to put things into perspective.  When we feed the hungry, we are simply following instructions from God.  It doesn't make us as good as God.  We're simply following instructions like the one He gave the Israelites in the Old Testament days when He said, "When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 23:22 NLT)  God takes care of the poor through His obedient people.

Jesus, however, wasn't just an obedient person.  He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and God in the flesh. He was doing miraculous signs - bigger than we can do.  For 8,000 lbs of food may have been gathered in a day, but it took thousands of people giving and dozens to organize the event, invite people to participate, and deliver the food.  Six hundred families were fed with over a dozen churches participating, not counting all the businesses, organizations, and individuals.  The events are spread out over a matter of months and planning takes most of the year.

Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed five loaves and two fish, broke the bread into pieces and had his disciples distribute them.  The whole process took minutes...and God.  The result?

They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! (Matthew 14:20-21 NLT)

God, we Praise You when your people follow your commands.
We Worship You  when we see you working in ways we can not.
Thank you for performing miracles that get our attention and show us Your Glory.