I have been a little worried about my financial situation the last few months... income has been down and I don't want to be in debt. When I was praying, reminding God of my financial needs this month, the Lord allowed me to look in on the scene of His feeding the multitudes. This is how I literally saw it.
Thousands of men, women, children, healthy and sick, rich and poor were camped out for the day on the grass of a large hillside. It was getting late in the day. They had already eaten their lunches and snacks much earlier, not wanting to miss anything that might happen there with Jesus, the Healer, the prophet-teacher, the miracle worker in their midst.
The disciples noted the subtle restlessness of the children who were tired and hungry, the undercurrent of concern among the parents, and even the unspoken questions of the more sophisticated about how long was He, this Jesus, going to go on. They came to Jesus, turned Him aside and asked Him about this. Should they try to go buy food? Did they have enough money for such a large crowd? Or would He dismiss them now, allow them to go home or to nearby inns?
I could see the wry little smile on Jesus' face as He turned around and said, "Well, why don't you go and see what you can gather up from those who had brought food," motioning them to, "go on now". Then He continued on with His divine lessons, walking among them, laying a
hand on fussy children, stopping to touch a lonely widow, to pray for an aching back. He seemed utterly unconcerned about the disciples' assessment of the gathering. He had more, much more, to say, and the hearts were open and ready to feast on the real Bread of Life.
When one of the disciples came back with nothing in the basket he had borrowed, and another with only a half-eaten loaf of bread and a dried fish, Jesus smiled again and motioned them to sit down and wait for the others. Then He went on to finish His parable. Soon the others drifted back and compared their "catch". Only a few more loaves of various shapes and kinds of bread and a couple more shriveled up fish. What were they going to do? What would Jesus say?
Well, He didn't say anything. He just grinned from ear to ear. He actually picked up some of the bread and smelly fish and raised His arms up and gleefully kissed each piece. Then He quietly began laughing to Himself as He gave the traditional blessing, replacing the food in the various baskets and continuing to thank The Father for these generous, sacrificial gifts...given with trusting hearts. THEN, He said, "Take the baskets back out among the people and give them all they want." And all the time, He was chuckling quietly as He watched the blank faces of His helpers, who slowly backed away with their baskets, their eyes transfixed on His grinning face. Then suddenly one tripped on a nearby leg...falling backwards, his basket flying through the air. Bread, loaves and loaves of it, sailing and then landed in the laps of those behind him! The joy of Lord began to break out on all sides.
And, course, everyone ate their fill, with plenty of leftovers for those not fortunate enough to have been there to see it for themselves. And joy filled the place, babies went to sleep, children quieted and watched this Miracle Worker as He seemed to reach out His arms to hug them all at once. And the sun sank below the horizon on a peaceful crowd as they packed up and went away for the night.
I know this is a paraphrase, but it was the way I saw it. Then Jesus seemed to be telling me that I must not be like the disciples as they looked at the huge need, and the minute supply. He seemed to be saying that I must keep my eyes on His face...on the joy He felt, the glee that He experiences when we just trust Him.
Of course, I could go on and on with my assessment of what He meant. But I think that's for each one of us to do as we see that picture of His joy in responding to our trust, as we get our eyes off the needs....as we just keep looking at Him.
I hope this picture stays in your head and moves to your heart as quickly as it did mine.