…nothing…but five loaves and two fish. Matthew 14:3-21 Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones, but I can remember days just like this. Except, in my house it was more like five slices of bread and two pieces of chicken! Okay – perhaps a bit exaggerated, but I will say that to this day I rarely order chicken when eating out. Nevertheless, there were times when things did get quite tight, but by the grace of God, we’ve never gone hungry. Jesus, even in his despair over John’s death has compassion for a crowd that longs to be fed. He will not send them away as his disciples suggest, merely out of their own limitation. The disciples don’t yet understand that to walk in the presence of God is to already be full. Jesus demonstrates that by lifting up our heart, hands, voice and all that we have in thanksgiving and praise, our limitations are transformed into sufficient abundance. To withdraw when in despair is a natural human response, yet a loving God calls us back that we may be filled and strengthened by his grace, knowing that through Christ we move forward and through Christ we have everything we need.
“Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain…” Ruth 1:19-2:13 One of my most favorable times as a child was when I attended kindergarten at “Just Five Folks,” and we took a trip to a recording studio and made a record! It was years later during a conversation with my mother about those days that she told me that she did “days work” in order for my sister and I to attend, she had traded cleaning services for our tuition. Of course this is one of the many things my mother did in her short lifetime in order that I might have those favorable memories. This past week, it was the readings in the Book of Ruth that brought this and other memories to mind which helped me to further understand waste, gleaning, obedience and abundance. We have a tendency to either over or underestimate a lot of things like time, money, and food to name a few. In some respects this can become a resource for others. For example my mother needed us to be in kindergarten because she was still in college. The woman who ran this private kindergarten needed someone to clean her home because she apparently didn’t have time (or desire) to do it herself. In any event I benefitted from my mother’s willingness to “glean” as a result of this woman’s over or perhaps underestimation of her time. We must not forget that abundance in life is not necessarily measured by money alone. Education was very important to my mother. She would go on to receive a second degree and we her three children would achieve 8 degrees between us. Perhaps today we may find ourselves gleaning, but we must remember that Ruth’s journey was “ordained” by God. Spiritually, nothing is ever wasted according to God’s hand.
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the LORD made her conceive, and she bore a son…. They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:1-17