“What kind of a man is a man who does not try to make the world a better place?”
Balian in Kingdom of Heaven
This week the lectionary takes us to the feeding of the 5,000 (plus women and children). I’ve been wondering about the story all week, particularly verse 16.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, 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 themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
It struck me that we always read this as a miracle of Jesus, but at the very least the disciples were partners in it. “You give them something to eat” but the disciples look to their very obvious limitations.
Only 5 loaves and 2 fish.
That’s not going to be enough.
But with God’s blessing it is.
So Jesus takes what they have, gives thanks and blesses it, and then gets them to share what they have.
It turns out that the little they have is more than enough.
How often do we look at the world and say ‘It’s too big and I’m too small to change it”? The disciples fed the 5,000 with Jesus’ help. I wonder what we could do to make the world a better place with that kind of help?
What kind of a man doesn’t even try?