And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”
And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.
And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
The disciple's words "Send them away" are echoing in my head this morning. It reminds me a bit of Cain's retort to God when he is questioned about his slain brother Abel. He defiantly replied: "Am I my brother's keeper?" The answer to the disciples tells us that God's answer is "Yes, you are your brother's keeper". When our brother hurts we are often God's answer to his prayer. When he is hungry God calls us to love him with a meal or sack of groceries.
Christ's answer to this need of sustenance is breathtakingly divine. Ever wonder why God didn't just materialize the fish and bread out of thin air? Seems like he could have but instead he took something natural turned it into something supernatural. Perhaps that is one of the messages in the story? Perhaps the answers to our prayers for supernatural intervention begin when take our meager fishes and loaves and give them to the Lord?
Direct me Lord to those who are hurting and need someone to help.