Bishop Ward explores the fishes and loaves story from the text, Matthew 14: 13-21, and what the gifts of mission can mean to the local church and the world.
On a hillside long ago, the disciples said to Jesus, “Send the crowds away. Let them go find something to eat.”
Jesus asked a wonderful question, “What do you have?”
They said, “a few loaves and a few fish.”
Jesus said, “Bring them to me,” and then Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it. And as the food was distributed among the people, thousands were fed with basketfuls left over.
This is the way our great God of abundance works among us as we engage in mission in the world. We, in the United Methodist tradition, know that helping helps.
Books have been written recently – “Toxic Charity;” “When Helping Hurts” and they do help us examine the ways in which we engage in mission. They help us move from strength to strength in the ways in which we seek to be helpful in the world. And at the same time, we acknowledge that helping is always a messy business.
The disciples made mistakes on that hillside, assuming that there was not enough, yet Jesus, present with them, evoked a miracle in their midst. Listen to this wonderful video recorded recently in El Salvador, as a team from the NC Conference went to help.
“Juan, on behalf of the Fairway District of the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church”
“and Hollands United Methodist Church in the Capital District,”
“we are very pleased to present to you, this check of over $15,000 to be used in the building of Emmanuel Church in San Lorenzo. May God bless you. May God bless all of those who come to be part of this great community of faith. We are brothers and sisters in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and together, we serve to God’s glory. God bless you.”
“God bless you too.”
“Take care and God bless you.”
“Thank you very much.”
As we go to engage in helpful mission, we are helped ourselves. We lose ourselves to find ourselves and we give thanks that helping face-to-face, hand-to-hand, is always a means of grace. Let us give thanks for the way Jesus Christ stands in our midst, offering abundance for every good work.