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Daily Encouragement - August 5

Exodus 16: 2-3

2 The whole Israelite community complained against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 3 The Israelites said to them, “Oh, how we wish that the Lord had just put us to death while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. Instead, you’ve brought us out into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death.”

Matthew 15: 32-39

Now Jesus called his disciples and said, “I feel sorry for the crowd because they have been with me for three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry for fear they won’t have enough strength to travel.”

His disciples replied, “Where are we going to get enough food in this wilderness to satisfy such a big crowd?”

Jesus said, “How much bread do you have?”

They responded, “Seven loaves and a few fish.”

He told the crowd to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves of bread and the fish. After he gave thanks, he broke them into pieces and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full. The disciples collected seven baskets full of leftovers. Four thousand men ate, plus women and children. After dismissing the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.

This gospel lesson shows Jesus to be a nourishment for the soul. Better than the manna of Moses’ day. Jesus begins to let us know that He is the Bread of Life. Yesterday, today…and forever. 

Our first scripture from today’s daily lectionary focuses on the minds of the Israelites dwelling on living in scarcity and with a lack of trust…while the second teaches abundance through trusting in God with all of your heart, soul and mind with all of your might. Maybe it’s easier if you are a first century disciple, soon to be apostle of Jesus who saw him walking towards you on the water…or witnessed thousands of people becoming filled off of what appeared to be enough food to feed a large family.

But let’s not look at this as Jesus being a one-time solver of problems for a certain group heading to the city for Passover. There is a much larger picture here. This wasn’t Christ offering grace one time. This was truly of sign that God offers sanctifying grace through Jesus Christ…that grace that helps us as we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived. 

As we pray, study the Scriptures, fast, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. As we respond with compassion to human need and work for justice in our communities, we strengthen our capacity to love neighbor. How are we loving our neighbors…not just those in our neighborhood but throughout our community…the poor, the hurt, the lost, the immigrant, the prisoner, the so called cast outs and throw always?

This isn’t a story about food insecurity. This is a story about trust and faith. It’s a story that happens still today. We are called as Christ's followers to share this Bread of Life with everyone around us. 

Is it not sufficient to say that our task as disciples is simply to do what we can in trust and consecration and leave the increase to Christ? Is it not sufficient to say that our task as disciples is to offer what we can to the causes of Christ—our efforts, energies, money, prayers, concerns, time, love—and allow Christ to take what we offer individually and make of it corporately far more that we are able?

May it be so....

Pastor Michael Williams

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