Imagine yourself amidst a sea of humanity, 5,000 strong, nestled amongst rolling hills. Jesus is speaking, captivating hearts and minds. But are you truly grasping the magnitude of what’s unfolding? If you’re far back in the crowd, lost in the throng, perhaps not. This wasn’t just a gathering; it was a silent charade, a miracle only partially witnessed. Those close to Jesus saw the five loaves and two fish, the anticipation building. But for many, it might have felt like any other day, waiting for… what exactly?

AI impression on how the crowd looks like when Jesus fed the 5,000.

This scene throws into stark relief a concerning trend in our own faith communities: the consumerist mindset. We show up, expecting blessings, seeking comfort, hoping for personal gain. We become passive receivers, miles away from the true miracle—the miracle of service, of giving, of being close to Jesus.

Remember the two key players in this story (other than Jesus of course)? The boy who offered his meager lunch and the disciples who distributed it. They weren’t mere bystanders; they were participants. Their proximity to Jesus ignited their action. The boy, with his simple act of giving, became part of something extraordinary. The disciples, through their service, witnessed the multiplication firsthand.

The boy who gave his 5 loaves & 2 fishes and the disciples who distributed the food to the crowd.

Here’s the real twist: they weren’t giving to get more. Theirs wasn’t a prosperity gospel transaction. They gave and served purely out of love, trust, and proximity to Jesus. And in doing so, they experienced the miracle on a deeper level, witnessing the impossible firsthand. They became conduits of God’s boundless blessings, not just recipients.

Now, consider the context. This miracle happened after Jesus received news of John the Baptist’s death. Grief could have consumed him, yet his concern for people’s physical needs remained paramount. This is the heart of Jesus, a heart overflowing with love and care, even in the midst of personal sorrow. It’s a heart that beats for you today, right here, right now. Even as life throws its curveballs, know that Jesus’ concern for your well-being never wavers. His love extends far beyond the crowds, beyond the miracles, reaching directly into your life, waiting for you to draw close and experience it for yourself.

Are you too far back?

So, where do we stand? Are we content to remain at the back of the crowd, passively waiting for blessings? Or will we choose to move closer, offer what we have, and serve with open hearts? Remember, our proximity to Jesus fuels our ability to give, serve, and truly witness the miraculous unfold.

Let’s not settle for a picnic experience of faith. Let’s step closer, offer our loaves and fishes, and witness the boundless blessings that flow through giving and serving, just like the boy and the disciples. In doing so, we might just discover that the greatest miracle isn’t just about being fed; it’s about becoming channels of God’s love and compassion in a world desperately needing it.

Remember, there are always crowds everywhere Jesus goes, drawn by the promise of something spectacular. But true faith isn’t just about witnessing miracles; it’s about being part of them.

Challenge yourself: will you be content to be another face in the crowd, passively observing, or will you step forward like the boy and the disciples, offering your gifts and joining the transformative work of God?