There was a knock on my outside office door. A door that no-one uses, I thinks its an emergency exit for the pastor, in case a quick exit is needed. So there is this knock. I open the door and in comes a father with a eight year old. It is pantry day, but people don't usually come to my door. But here is this father asking for a gallon of milk and her favorite cereal. I am always torn about what to do in those moments which is why I usually only have at most a 20 in my wallet. So I know too much about this man, if he was a complete stranger I would have just given him my 20 for Jesus says give to the poor if they ask, but I know too much about his family. I know him and his wife play the system. They work every angle they can to not work. Granted that even if they did work they would still only be able to get a low wage job. So I listen to their story. If I give him my 20 he will be back next month. But Jesus says give and I give.
The Call to Discipleship in The Gospel of Mark, Day 37
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. Mark 8:1-10
DFID- UK Department Flickr
Jesus has gathered a great crowd around him in the gentile territories. For three days these crowds have sought healing and listened to Jesus teach. As Jesus looked at the gathered crowd, he is full of compassion for them. He wants to feed them before sending them home. The disciples, who have just experienced the feeding of 5000 Israelites, ask how we can feed them bread here in the desert. Jesus asks how many loaves they have and they say seven. Jesus had the crowd sit, he took the bread, gave thank for it, and gave it to the people. Communion in the desert, followed by fish. The crowd ate and were satisfied. Jesus was then able to send them off as he moved on.
The community of God is invited into this practice of having compassion on those who are hungry whether part of our local community or people outside our area. We are to look on those who are hungry with compassion and share a meal with them. Part of our mission as faithful followers of Jesus is to provide bread. We are to look on the hungry, on those who have joined us for teaching and healing and eat together. In what ways do you feed people? When do you eat with those who are hungry? When do you share a meal with those you have compassion on? As a church how are we supporting ministries of compassion for the hungry.
Ask God to bring to you this day people for whom you can show compassion, can look on with Jesus' eyes and feed them.
Touch the Earth Lightly