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Matthew 14:13-33, Feeding the 5000

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
— Matthew 14:17-19

NL Daily Devotion for Sunday, February 24, 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff


Main Idea: We are invited to be agents of hospitality by stepping out in faith.

As soon as word spread about Jesus—his teachings, healings, and miracles—it was nearly impossible for him to find a quiet moment away. The people were hungry for hope, and Jesus brought hope in abundance.

I don’t know whether this is a story of a supernatural miracle, where bread and fish multiply, or a telling of
a stone soup story, where the need of the crowd is met due to the ever growing generosity of crowd members sharing what they have brought. Either way, this story tells us of the generous nature of Jesus who modeled hospitality everywhere he went. Whether the food multiplies, or the generosity of the crowd multiplies, it is a miracle.

The call to the disciples was to be the agents of hospitality. To step out in faith and deliver. Whether feeding the masses or stepping out of a boat in a storm, Jesus’ invitation was for action. He would not be with them for long. They needed to learn to be the change.

I remember growing up hearing my dad tell of his childhood just following the Great Depression. Whenever people showed up at the door for a visit, grandma would feed them, often when there wasn’t even enough to feed her own family. She would whisper, “FHB” meaning “family hold back,” so that the guests would leave satisfied.

I did not experience that level of poverty during my own childhood, but I did inherit my grandmother’s love of feeding others, and her willingness to sacrifice for others. In my household now, the more the merrier, and in my family of five we regularly fed as many as twelve on any given night. We are a poorer family than I experienced growing up, but it doesn’t matter to me. Sharing a meal with guests is never more expensive than I can afford. Because it is more than sharing food. It is sharing conversation, building relationships, and coming together in a tender and vulnerable way. Jesus knew that the way to effect change in the world was by strengthening relationships between people, and the way to strengthen those relationships was to share meals together. Miracle or

stone soup? The miracle was the profound change made possible by the sharing of food.

Earlier Event: February 23
Matthew 12:1-8, Teachings of Jesus
Later Event: February 25
Psalm 95:1-5, A Joyful Noise!