Then… [Jesus] took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
Sometimes, stories seem to follow me around. I guess that they think I didn’t hear them the first time. Or maybe they’re just reminding me, poking me: “Hey! We’ve been through this already! Don’t make me just say it all again but LOUDER.”
This is one of those stories. Abundance. There will be enough, and more left over that you don’t even need. Stop focusing on scarcity. Here is what resonates with me from this story: The people had already been with Jesus for three days without food as he slowed down for them, listened to them, understood them, cared for them, healed them.
Three days without food. I fast for two days a year (not in a row) and it feels like an accomplishment. Three days. Perhaps, though, this was gathering of those who simply didn’t eat every day. A few days was nothing new.
But maybe the miracle of the loaves and fishes was a response to something else.
Maybe the people were growing anxious—that after three days of Jesus looking them in the eyes, listening to their stories, pouring something incomprehensible out of himself to heal their ailments, he was running out of the ability to help him. Maybe they knew scarcity, they were familiar with being turned away. They were getting scared that he would not have enough for them. And perhaps he sensed that.
That one of them would be next in line, and Jesus would say, “I’m sorry. All out.”
Imagine: so close. “I was almost healed by Jesus.” Simultaneously funny and heartbreaking.
But Jesus isn’t going anywhere. “I’m just getting started. Bring in some food! Not enough? Nonsense. There’s always enough. Always enough. Always.”
Enough isn’t everything. Perhaps not bells and whistles. No side dishes, five courses, pages of options, substitutions, free refills, or dessert. Enough is some. It means ‘sufficient’. In this story, enough means that there were leftovers. That means, in turn, that people had an impressively unselfish sense of ‘enough’.
“I have enough. This is sufficient.”
“I don’t need any more, thank you,”
“There will always be something for me.”
“I will be cared for.”
“I will not be forgotten.”
“I will not be alone.”
Not only that, but also
“There will be enough to share"