Mark 8:1-10 – Feeding the Four Thousand
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
Didn’t we read this a few days ago? That was my initial thought as I read this passage earlier today. In fact, we read a very similar story of 5000+ being fed, but in a different place and likely with different people. Without getting into the debate about whether these are actually the same stories or different, I instead wanted to get into a single word – abundance. I love this story (and the other) in how its not that each person just got a small bite, but there was so much that there were seven baskets left of broken pieces of bread leftover. Now, I am not sure how much 7 baskets really is, but it feels like a lot. Abundance. So much of what we live is about scarcity – we don’t have enough of this or enough of that. Yet God often works not in scarcity but in abundance. God’s abundant blessings. I love the thing I continue to see from friends of mine on Facebook (no, not about dumping ice water on their heads, but something else)…a daily record of what they are grateful for. We each can definitely find areas of our lives where there’s not enough, but what about the other side – what about looking for the ways that we are able to see the blessings that God provides?