”So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.” Mark 6:42-43
It’s my habit at church fellowship dinners to wait until the last to be served. There’re a few reasons why I wait. The first is that I don’t like standing in line. If I have to wait I’d much rather wander about the room talking to people until the line shortens before I get my food. The second is that If there’s not enough food for everyone to eat, and some people have to go without, I’d rather be one of those that goes hungry.
There’ve been several times over the course of the last twenty years when there was very little food left over by the time I and the others at the end of the line got our turn. I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I’ve had a very hard time being patient about not getting any food. This is especially true when I’ve seen the heavily loaded plates being carried by people that seemingly have no consideration for those waiting to come after them. Sometimes the wait’s been long enough for me to see people throwing food away because they’d taken more than they could eat. One time I even saw a child decide she didn’t like the food she’d chosen the first time throw her food away and return to the front of the line to get a second plate of food.
I think perhaps many of us have become too accustomed to having more than enough to eat and as a result we’re becoming wasteful and thoughtless with the blessings God has given.
There on the lake shore, Jesus and his disciples showed no such inclination. Perhaps they’d all experienced the reality of seasons of not enough food. Perhaps they’d eaten too many meals with hungry people watching them, despairing that they’ll get a meal that day. Perhaps they’d seen too many staving people, reaching out shaking hands to accept what food they had to offer. Whatever their reasons, no food was allowed to go to waste and the gospels record the abundance remaining following a meal that began with so little. Twelve baskets of bread fragments and fish.
We need to practice better care in our relationship with the food we eat, whether at fellowship dinner or at home. When we take our portion we need to make sure that it’s only our share and we also need to make sure that we don’t take more than we’ll eat. While this may not be helping staving children in Africa. It just might develop a habit that’ll ensure that I, and the others at the back of the line, get food come sabbath afternoon.