Reading: Matthew 14: 13-21
Verse 19: He gave thanks and He broke the loaves… the disciples gave them to the people.
This morning is the last day of a middle school youth mission trip. We have spent the past week in a large city. We have learned about poverty and homelessness. We served food to men and women in need. We sorted and stocked food in a free pantry. We worked in a gigantic warehouse sorting and packing food that goes to many agencies who feed people. We spent two afternoons at a large thrift store sorting about anything you can imagine and preparing it for resale. The profits all go to people with disabilities in the state.
Through all of these acts of service, we learned about the great need that exists in our world. It exists in many of our communities and maybe even in our own neighborhoods. Prior to this trip our youth were unaware of the poverty many face each day. Yes, they new some lived with very little. But learning that some parents must choose between paying for their child’s field trip at school and putting gas in the car so they can go to work was a new reality for our youth.
Jesus lived a life of compassion. He spent time in and among the poor and needy of His day. They needed Him most. In our passage today, He begins by healing many. Then He feeds many. We read, “He gave thanks and He broke the loaves… the disciples gave them to the people”. There are two important lessons in today’s passage.
First, Jesus gave thanks for the gifts that God has given Him. Second, the disciples used the gifts Jesus gave them to also be a part of this miracle. In faith and trust, they were part of the feeding of the thousands. Our group learned the first lesson well this week. We are going home to nice houses with an excess of food, clothing… We do not know true want. We are truly thankful for the many, many gifts that God has given us. We began to learn the second lesson this week as we saw how God can use each of us to make the world a better place by sharing His love as we serve others. It is a great gift that we have to offer. This day, what will we offer to meet another’s physical or emotional or spiritual need? May we remember that gifts that God has given us, may we be truly thankful, and may we seek to share them each day for the building of God’s kingdom here on earth.