“YOU give them something to eat!”

“But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'” (Matthew 14:16)

Although the gathering of the multitude before Jesus that day was unusual in a sense, in another way it is really a typical kind of scenario that most of us have probably faced at one time or another. People are around, and they have needs, and we think that “someone” (not us!) should do something about it. So like Jesus’ disciples in :15 , we start in our with our excuses:

— “the hour is already late” — it’s inconvenient
— “so send the crowds away” — get rid of the people
— “that they may … buy food for themselves” — so they can take care of themselves, and we can rest, apart from concern from them. They are not our responsibility.

But Jesus had news for them. He was having none of their “sloughing off” of the responsibility for these people’s needs. Verse 16 indicates: “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat.” That word “YOU” there should probably be emphasized. He didn’t want them to send these people away, to let someone else help them, or to fend for themselves.  He wanted THEM to take responsibility for them.

Perhaps this is His word for some of our own situations today? Is there someone, or some group of people that you have been thinking that “someone” ought to do something about? “Someone” needs to start a class for them at church. “Someone” really ought to get a ministry going for them. Someone really needs to talk to that person, and give them some Biblical direction. But just like He did to His disciples in Matthew 14, perhaps Jesus is saying to you that the answer for you is not to send them away, but for YOU to do something about it.  YOU teach the class. YOU start the ministry. YOU talk to theml. YOU take responsibility:  “YOU give them something to eat.”


About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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