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“You Give Them Something to Eat!”


I want to start with something funny I found an internet site: A little girl from Alabama went to church for the first time while visiting her grandparents in Michigan. When the pastor announced it was time for Communion, she was excited–and hungry. The congregation filed up to the altar rail, and the child watched in confusion as her grandparents received a wafer and a small plastic cup of wine. She could hardly wait to get back to the pew to tell her grandma that Jesus wasn’t from Alabama. “How do you know that dear?” asked her grandma. “Because that was the poorest meal I’ve ever seen,” she said. “Mama would’ve at least given everybody some cornbread and sweet tea.”

It is Communion Sunday today. While we keep Communion the first Sunday of every month, some churches keep Communion every Sunday. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Yes, “Communion” is to remember what Jesus did for us; How Jesus loved us. And as often as we can do Communion, it benefits us. Some might raise a question; what is the benefit for us?

We share a piece of bread and a small cup of juice at the Communion table. It might be nothing significant in and of itself. But sharing a piece of bread and a cup of wine has profound meaning. Communion supper is from Jesus’ compassion for his people who were hungry, who were sick, who were oppressed, and who were under burdens. Eating a piece of bread and drinking a cup of wine is a way to confess we are satisfied, healed, forgiven, and released by Jesus’ steadfast love. It is a tangible means of grace, experiencing Jesus’ presence at the table and among us. It symbolizes our Lord Jesus Christ feeds us the living bread for eternal life as Jesus said, “I am the bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). Also, it symbolizes that we unite with Jesus Christ through eating the bread and wine (juice) from Jesus’ table as well as unite with one another who eat together from one table, which is the Lord’s table.

Eating meals together is very significant in Korea for building a good relationship, such as making a close friend, becoming good companions, and being a harmonious family member. In Korea, a family literally means “those who are eating together at a table.” Israelite’s customs were similar. When Jesus enjoyed eating and drinking with people, the Pharisees looked at him and said, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Luke 7:34). Israelites also regarded that people who ate together, were close friends. How about American customs? Is it similar? So, we are also friends and family members in Jesus Christ because we eat together from the Lord’s table. It is a covenant that we may feed the hungry until we eat with Jesus in heaven as Jesus fed us.

As we read today’s scripture, many people followed Jesus always wherever Jesus went. Some of them looked for food; some looked for healing; some looked for some miraculous works; some might just have followed him because many people had gathered; perhaps, a few looked for his teachings and wisdom. Many people followed Jesus all day, even to the desert, which means Jesus taught them and healed them all day long. And then, it was about supper time. The disciples were concerned that the people must be hungry and thought they should send them to find their own food by themselves. However, Jesus said, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” Jesus said, “Bring them here to me.”

Don’t you think the disciples are similar to us? Some may say, “We have nothing here so if we make any church ministry plan, how can we make it happen?” When we received the VBS grant, someone said, “I don’t think we can do it because we don’t have anybody who can do the work.” But, I said, “Let’s see if God, who gave us the grant, doesn’t send us the people.” Now, we have more than twenty volunteers for VBS.

Do you know where the five loaves of bread and two fish came from? Yes, they were from a boy. The Gospel of John addresses that Jesus asked his disciples, “Where can we buy enough food to feed the crowds?” And then, a boy brought five barley loaves and two fish to his disciple. Can you imagine? More than five thousand people, with women and children, gathered together and were hungry. Jesus said, “Where we can buy enough food for them?” and a boy came to Jesus and said, “I have five loaves of bread and two fish.” He might have heard Jesus say, “You give them something to eat.”  And he came and joyfully said, “Here you are.” How authentic he was!

If you saw this scenario before you, what would you say? You may do like the disciples said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” (John 6:9). Perhaps, those who count well may say, “No, we cannot buy enough food for these many people even if we received six months’ wages. Don’t try to do anything. Just send them away whatever they do.”

However, Jesus’ love and compassion toward the people would love to feed them and said, “Bring them to me.” Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate and they were filled; they got leftovers of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.

Remember, God received a boy’s dedication, not the adult who counted well. God’s thought is different from ours. God’s works may not be in numbers, but authentic minds believe that “We can do everything in HIM who can give us strength” (Philippians 4:13).

We often think of what we don’t have first. But try to count what you have first. You may have many things that are immeasurable. Jesus may ask you, “You give them something to eat;” “You may give them something to drink;” “You may give them something to wear.” Do you think you don’t have anything worth giving? Something you would give away might be treasure to others. When you give Jesus even the smallest amount of faith, it may be the size of a mustard seed, but it will grow and becomes the size of a big tree, and then it will help many others.

Our VBS starts tomorrow, August 7th through August 10th. I may say, “Come and see and help them out.” Don’t say, “I can’t do anything.” Your presence is very encouraging to the kids and other volunteers; your prayers may powerfully work; your kind words help many kids to enjoy VBS. We are one family who live together, eating together from the Lord’s table. We can make things happen with the grace of God when we work together. You can encourage them. You can give them a good impression of the church. Let’s make things happen together by the grace of God! Thanks be to God! Amen!