"You Give Them Something to Eat"
Feeding the 5,000 is the “go-to” text when it comes to entertaining thoughts on God’s divine economy. It’s all there in the story: scarcity, concern, fear, empathy, desire, hopelessness, hope, call, action, resources and abundance. God’s economy doesn’t operate out of a spirit of fear and scarcity but one of gratitude and abundance. On the side of a hill long ago, Jesus turned his attention toward the need of the community that followed him. He didn’t know who they all were or whether they had means or not. Jesus saw the need and desired to fill it. So, he turned to the best resource available to him, the disciples.
At the heart of the passage we find this command, “You give them something to eat.” While many would think that the miracle of the story was in Jesus’ prayer and the transformation of a few things into many, the actual miracle was the response of the disciples and those who ate that day. God is the God of abundance. God has provided us with enough. Together, we are the resource God has provided through the church to fill the need. The miracle on that day long ago was that the disciples responded to the call and people shared.
Today, we hear the same invitation. “You give them something to eat.” There is an abundance of food and resources to feed the mouths of every person in our communities and world. The resources, and the ability to distribute those resources, are available to us. In this season of COVID-19, rapid economic change, and physical distancing and isolation, many are experiencing hunger and poverty for the first time. With more than 700 churches in the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and over 144,000 active disciples of Jesus, we can make a huge impact in providing food and reducing hunger. The need is great, and our vision is that every church in the Florida Conference would be involved.
God’s economy doesn’t operate out of a spirit of fear and scarcity but one of gratitude and abundance.