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.
As someone who is still learning and experimenting when it comes to the culinary arts, I look to pie crust as the "Holy Grail" of baking.
If only I could replicate my mom's flakey, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust. That's the goal. In fact, I have watched my mother make pie crust many, many times over the years. I remember, as a young child, standing on a chair at the kitchen counter and witnessing the dough formation, the roll-out, the tricky transfer to the pie plate, the crimping of the edges and so forth.
But now, when I'm by myself in my own kitchen, it is easy for me to become overwhelmed and for my thoughts to take a negative, defeatist turn: I'll never be able to make as good of a pie crust as my mother! I don't even have a pastry blender to cut in the butter with the flour. All I have is a regular old fork! I can't do this. I don't have what it takes.
What's interesting, though, is to witness the reactions of those who partake of a finished pie. Not once have I heard someone say: "Laura, your pie was dee-lish, but the pie crust? … Yeah, you're going to need to work on that." Not once. Everyone to whom I've served pie has always left my home with a full belly and a smile on their lips, give or take a crumb or two. And they thank me that I took the time to make something for them and for their nourishment.
Hmmm. Who'd have thunk that my ultimate pie crust quest wasn't really about me or my perceptions at all? You know, when Jesus fed the five thousand (Matthew 14:13), he tried to get the same point across to the disciples:
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." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. "Bring them here to me," he said. 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. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Like me, the disciples were blinded by their circumstances, their lack of resources and what they were sure they couldn't accomplish in this seemingly impossible situation. They really had no clue what they had. Jesus, on the other hand, looked beyond all of this and performed a miracle. He showed the disciples that he was their power source who would feed their efforts. He had fed them and now he was asking them to feed others.
You and I are being asked, too, to share with others the Bread of Life that we have been given. You may feel ill equipped to do that today—like me and having no pastry blender. But the Lord has shown me that my "fork" is just fine. It's what he's given me in this season in my life to fulfill his plans and purposes in reaching others for him.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
What about you? Do you feel like you don't have the "tools" needed in order to feed others the Good News? Be encouraged! Seminary degree or not, Bible college or not, life-long Christian or not, God can and will use you—however he has equipped you—to share life-changing nourishment with others.