Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
In the Bible, thanksgiving often occurs in a prayer over a meal. But this was no ordinary meal! Jesus and his disciples were out in the middle of nowhere with thousands of hungry mouths to feed. The need in front of them loomed so much larger than their available resources. They found that a boy had “five small barley loaves and two small fish.” But surely that was not sufficient for 5,000 men, plus women and children!
How often in your life do the needs in front of you loom so much larger than your available resources? Maybe the stack of bills you owe stands taller than your checkbook balance. Perhaps keeping both family and job going requires more wisdom and stamina than you possess. Reality is tough.
But Jesus entered our reality. And part of Jesus’ response to a tough situation is to stop and give thanks. Jesus lifts his attention to what God has already provided, even if that may seem insignificant.
When we stop and give thanks for what God has given, we’re reminded that God is for us, not against us. When Jesus gives thanks and then goes on to feed many thousands of people, we see that God cares about our needs. Reality’s tough, but gratitude opens our eyes to Jesus’ extravagant love. Are you grateful for his blessings today?
When our resources don’t meet our needs, Lord, help us to keep giving thanks and to trust in your unfailing love. In your name we pray. Amen.
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