Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (Matthew 15:32-36 NRSV)
Jesus and the disciples are in the desert with a hungry crowd. It’s natural for the disciples to expect Jesus to come up with a solution for feeding the people; he has already performed several miracles. Certainly he could come up with a plan! He does have a plan, but his plan involves the disciples. How many loaves do they have to offer? Jesus invites them to participate in the feeding of the crowd.
We are to be the Body of Christ in the world. Yet, how often do we pray that God will help our world- but we don’t offer ourselves as part of God’s solution? We pray hands-off prayers such as, “Creator God, bless all of creation.” “Merciful God, help the immigrants and refugees.” “Heavenly Father, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, bring justice and peace to our world.”
Jesus shows us that our prayers for the world’s needs must begin with our willingness to help him. We should be asking God to inspire us to good works, to make us aware of the needs of others, to help us team with God in the care of creation, to move us to take action, donate or serve where we are needed. Then we are to DO so.
We can begin by taking a personal inventory. What are my gifts? What resources do I have? How much time might I be able to give? Where do I feel the most passionate for change? How many loaves do I have? Then, when we pray for a concern, or we hear of a problem, we will be better prepared and ready to help. We will be ready to team with others as the Body of Christ, a team of love in the world.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “How many loaves have you?”
What do you have to share for the betterment of the world? How might you be called to share the love of Christ with others? How will you move from a fearful stance of scarcity to a generous spirit of abundance? How is Jesus speaking to you today?
How many loaves have you?