July 28, 2021
Mark 6:35-44 NIV
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 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 his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
As Jesus was teaching, the disciples had noticed that it was getting late in the day. I believe the disciples were shocked by the answer they got from Jesus. He told them to take care of the crowd. It became the responsibility of the disciples to come up with food while Jesus continued to teach.
This reminded me of a current commercial for the Snickers candy bar. In that commercial, the people are what I would call “hangry” which means that the people are getting angry because they are hungry. However, as the people take a bite of the respective candy bar, they are suddenly back to normal.
The disciples did not understand what Jesus was teaching: in order to continue teaching the people spiritually they also had to be fed physically.
In the past year, dealing with Covid and not being able to attend church regularly, we have become spiritually “hangry.” We (and I mean both laity and clergy) are more than just hungry; we are at the point of starving. Pastors have had the struggle of working to keep our congregations going, while the congregations are getting very used to the idea of staying at home. We have become so comfortable with the routines of the past year that we have forgotten we need spiritual food as well as physical food.
The spiritual struggle is just like the physical struggle: if we are not fed spiritually we cannot feed those to whom we are trying to minister. Personally, this has been the biggest struggle during this time. I am a people person so I really missed the fellowship and being able to see everyone in person. Because of this, I wasn’t being fed spiritually. I had to strengthen my personal time of study, prayer, and fellowship with God in order to be fed so I could feed others.
Now the struggle we face as our churches open is this: how do we get back to the in-person fellowship? We have become comfortable watching on-line while drinking our coffee and eating breakfast or sleeping in and watching later in the afternoon. We have become too comfortable! We need to be like the disciples and learn how to use what we have to feed. This is where we hear Jesus asking us to collect the leftovers and use them to meet people where they are. We have to use everything we have to feed people. The question for today is: Are you “hangry?” What are you going to do to feed the “hanger”?