When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
“How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 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 his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand (Mark 6:34-44).
- A long day, a remote place, needy people, questionable resources … the setting for this story may feel familiar to you, especially at this time of year.
- A compassionate, miracle-working Jesus is also in the story. Do you have something to say to Him today? Does He have something to say to you?
NOTE: If you’ve never practiced a lectio divina style reading of scripture, here are the basic steps:
Read: Read through the scripture once or twice. Don’t rush. Reading out loud might help you go slower and hear in a different way. Some electronic Bibles will even read the passage for you. No matter how you read/hear, take your time and let the words sink into your thoughts.
Meditate: As you think about the scripture, something might “jump out” at you. You might notice a word or a phrase that seems to be important to you right now. If so, take a minute or two and just let that word stay in your thoughts. Turn it over in your mind a time or two. Even if nothing seems especially important, ask yourself what God might be saying to you through His word.
Pray: Whatever God is saying to you, or inviting you to do, is a subject for prayer. Ask Him to help you understand and/or obey.
Contemplate: Sometimes we think that when we say “Amen” our prayer is over. Instead, why not carry the scripture with you throughout the day? As you go through your activities today, carry the scripture with you. Let it run through your mind while you drive, work or shop. You might even want to return to the same scripture at the end of the day and see if there is a further encouragement or invitation for you there.