Blessed… So Many Mouths, So Little Food

When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to me.” He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten (Matthew 14:13-21, Common English Bible).

 It has always seemed odd to me that we call this story the feeding of the 5000. It is probably because adult men were the only people who truly counted in the Biblical era. Children were nobodies as were women. When a male child was fully grown, he would have been included in the count. The others, never would be.

In reality, Jesus and the disciples fed far more people than 5000 in this story. The Scriptures tell us it was “5000 men plus women and children.” While that number is a high number of people considering they were trying to feed them all with two fish and five loaves of bread, in reality it was much, much higher.

I did a little research in preparation for this post. I discovered there are 4.2 children in an average Jewish home. If we calculate that out figuring in a woman and 4 children per household we are talking about 31000 people who were there that day. And, while I am sure there were men there who were not married, what if we take 11,000, we are still left with 20,000 people  to feed with a young man’s lunch.

Imagine, if you can, what it would be like to watch and see this story unfold. You have followed Jesus over from across the sea. Now the day is coming to an end. You are hungry. Then you see something going on, something with Jesus and his disciples. He holds up the fish and breaks them apart. He then holds up the bread and breaks it apart and the disciples make their way out into the crowds.

Your hungry. You would really like some of the food but there are so many people here. You can’t possibly expect to receive any of the food. There are just too many people. But, you are wrong. Here comes Thaddeus, he comes to the group of people where you are sitting and he hands you both bread and fish. The serving you receive looks to be as large as the five loaves and two fish Jesus had at the very beginning. What is more, as the basket passes around your group, it never looks like anything is taken from it. Thaddeus says, “Don’t be shy. Take what you want. Eat your fill. There is plenty here.”

In the end, not only do you eat your fill, everyone else around you does too. Word spreads quickly as people talk about what they are experiencing. Everyone, all 20,000+ people have eaten their fill off of five loaves of bread and two fish. You have just been part of something amazing.

There is food for all and even some left over. In the end, you recognize you have seen a miracle take place right in front of your eyes. What an event to experience.

How does Jesus allow you to have your fill?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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