by Ivy Plett
CALGARY, Alta.—Food, one of the necessities of life, is unfortunately not always available to everyone. However, it is often incorrectly assumed those in one’s local vicinity certainly have an adequately supplied pantry.
In Mark 6, the disciples assumed that the hungry crowd of scattered people could be dismissed to go home to prepare their own supper—or maybe pick up a burger at a drive-through on the way home? But Jesus said, “You feed them!” (Matthew 14:16 NLT). The command stands regardless of an absence of requests for food, perceived level of hunger or possibly the impracticality and inconvenience of delivering that blessing to others.
Jesus blessed by providing food. The faithful disciples united their efforts and delivered the food to the faithful, scattered crowd. It was delivered to them right where they were at. That is something worth emulating.
Abbeydale Christian Fellowship (ACF) supplies and serves a meal to hundreds of hungry people several times a year at Calgary’s Mustard Seed. ACF disciples of Christ unite to bake, cook, serve and share Christ’s love because he said, “You feed them!”
Community Cupboard (an ACF outreach) prepares food hampers weekly to distribute to families from the surrounding community. About 40 local families are fed and blessed by the faithful work of a dozen or so disciples because Christ said, “You feed them!”
ACF’s youth group serves a soup and bun (Abundant Springs) fundraiser in the church building annually after a Sunday service. This year, the crowd toted their choice of soup home for a physically scattered lunch, although united in spirit. Nevertheless, perhaps the youth identified with Jesus’ words, “You feed them.”
Government mandates and restrictions currently make gatherings such as banquets or potlucks difficult to plan and partake in as one way to celebrate his birth. Christ has already blessed by providing food. As disciples, we are expected to effectively find a way to unite the scattered faithful through delivering what he has already provided. Simple, but somewhat complicated by the times we are living in.
We are not the scattered who, together, sat on rocks or a grassy hillside chomping on hand-delivered loaves and fishes in the presence of he who made all things, but who would leave them soon. We are the scattered who can be united by simultaneously sitting in the presence of his omnipresent Holy Spirit in our own homes, enjoying a disciple-delivered blessing.
This year, ACFers were encouraged to deliver either homemade or purchased yummy edibles, cards, a phone call, offer of a helpful gesture or maybe a creative coupon to another church family on a given day to celebrate the birth of Christ. Whether empanadas, turkey, cookies, rice and beans or an altogether different sort of blessing was delivered to the door, each gift served to unify the scattered and fulfill Jesus’ “You feed them” command.
Jesus expects us, his disciples, to deliver the necessities of life he has provided to the scattered when he commanded. “You feed them.”