30 October 2022

The Metaphor of Loaves and Fishes

In my continuing study of scripture, I have found that my understanding of Jesus Christ has been altered and that I have worked to share that new-found understanding with others. As an example, I have re-examined the incident with the loaves and fishes in the life of Jesus and additional insights that can be found in it.

Mark 6

41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

42 And they did all eat, and were filled.

43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

All of us acknowledge the miracle that Jesus performed in feeding the five thousand.  As I have pondered what more we can take from this miracle and apply to our own experience, I see that the multiplying of loaves and fishes is a metaphor for the multiplicative effect that Christ can have on our comparatively feeble efforts toward Godliness.

On our own, we offer very little to anything we pursue. I always thought that when I grew older that I would have something significant to contribute, but what I have experienced over the decades is a sense of helplessness and a stronger need for guidance from God. As many times as I have pleaded for the answers that I need, answers have always come, whether from my very patient wife, friends and mentors, through spiritual insights and even at times from my children.  The years have shown me that in almost every circumstance, I by myself come to life with something like five loaves and two fishes.

A miracle that the Lord offers us is his multiplying power of what we bring to any situation. Our meager "loaves and fishes" of effort and strength can be multiplied by Christ and literally feed and serve thousands, far beyond our own power to do so. Just as amazing as this effect was in the days of Jesus and his Apostles, it is a modern-day miracle when it happens to us. The Lord can still feed thousands through our loaves and fishes.

How is it accomplished? I have found that these amazing miracles are triggered by us. We and our offering of service are the critical catalyst that Jesus can multiply. It is easy to become discouraged and think our contribution is so insignificant that we should just stop trying, but that is the wrong way. We must have faith that Christ makes something amazing in the lives of others from our tiny efforts and we must recognize the Lords' hands in all of this. As we see ourselves multiplied by the Savior, we should act more often in his name, doing what he commanded, and giving more loaves and fishes so that he can feed thousands upon thousands more. 

As my small contribution that Christ will multiply, I leave you with the blessing of my fathers:

The LORD bless you and protect you!

The LORD deal kindly and graciously with you!

The LORD bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!