Feeding the Multitudes
The Gospel of Mark records a miraculous story of Jesus feeding a multitude. In the text, Mark 6:44 says that Jesus fed 5,000. That is a lot of people! I have spent the summer working as the cook for Camp Ojibway.
Being an inexperienced chef, I was in for a shock when we had 93 people to feed our first week. I’ve never flipped so many pancakes in my life! It is not an easy job. Yet my attempts to feed the multitudes have been feeble compared to Jesus’ crowd of 5,000.
I have begun to see the story in Mark 6 with new eyes. I was struck by how miraculous this event really was. When I ran out of bread for campers to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at lunchtime, that was it. Sorry Timmy, you’ll have to wait until the bread delivery comes tomorrow! But not with Jesus. He didn’t run out of bread. Nor did he run out of compassion. At the end of the day, it was never about the bread. Jesus saw the multitudes with compassion. He knew exactly what they needed and provided for them beyond what they could ever ask or imagine – 12 basketfuls over (Mark 6:43.)
It is easy for me to marvel at this miracle, and it is good to see God’s power on display! But again, it’s not about the food. What is most important is that the people gathered in that remote place encountered the Living God. Often we long for a quick miracle to fix our momentary problems, when what we actually need is to encounter this compassionate Jesus as He invites us to participate in God’s work. I love that Jesus didn’t perform this miracle all on His own. He said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37.) And He invited them to bring what they had and join in the miracle with Him.
May we have compassionate eyes more like Jesus so that we can see the hungry, and accept the invitation to build God’s kingdom by feeding and loving them!
Kellie Rock, Camp Ojibway Cook