Man, do I love a good pot roast. With juicy brown gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans with onions, and lest we forget, the plump buttered rolls. Southern comfort at its best!
You guessed it. I love to eat. I especially love family gatherings where we all come together and eat. The food, the fun, the laughter—always a party.
Not only family meals, but I also love the entire church family coming together for a luncheon often called “dinner on the grounds.” Everyone brings a dish for a potluck lunch on the church campus, most likely in the fellowship hall. This esteemed event typically features several casseroles deemed “mystery dishes,” because we don’t know what is in it or who made it, yet there is always something better around the next ladle. If you are really quick, you can get the fried chicken before it runs out. Fried chicken always is the first to go. Regardless of the dishes before us, we always have a good time, and there always are leftovers.
Speaking of leftovers, let’s visit a hillside in the first century A.D. to witness one of the greatest-ever “dinners on the grounds.” It occurred after a full day of teaching, preaching and healing. The people—close to 10,000 with women and children included—were extremely hungry and started letting the ushers, AKA the disciples, know:
As evening approached, the disciples came to (Jesus) and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children (Matthew 14:15-21).
“You’re not you …”
Isn’t it interesting the disciples—who had just witnessed multiple miracles, including healing the sick—didn’t even think about what Jesus could do with food? They assessed the situation and realized: “We better get these people out of here before we have a riot. We have little food and thousands of hungry people.”
I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry and my blood sugar is low, watch out. I tend not to be myself. I love the Snickers commercials that portray famous people way outside any behavior you would expect of them. At the end of the advertisement, the announcer says, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”
It’s so true! Therefore, I’m sure these people who were hanging on to every word Jesus said felt exactly the same way. They probably were thinking: “I’m thankful for the good word, Bro, but I need some eats. I mean like pronto, Sir.”
They had been healed. They had been taught. And now they expected Jesus to feed them. Reasonable, but ironic just the same. He had just fed them himself, the Bread of Life. Any who eat of it shall never go hungry. Yet they were hungry.
But Jesus understood they needed both spiritual food and physical food. God cares about every detail of our lives, every single one.
If he knows how many hairs are on our heads, he cares about the acne you can’t get rid of. He cares about the bill you can’t pay. He cares about the boss who won’t listen or the child that who is sick. He cares.
Jesus says, “Cast your cares upon me, because (wait for it) … I care for you.” Praise God for a Savior who cares. He cares so much, he challenges us. He challenges us in order to see where we are in trusting his care. If we trust he spoke the world into existence, can we not trust him with everything, great or small, in our everyday life? If we trust that he saves us from sin and for eternal redemption, can we not trust him for grace everyday life?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
Matthew A. Butter is an itinerant preacher/writer and IT executive. He lives in the San Antonio area with his wife, Sonya, and their three children. You can reach him on Twitter here and online here and here.