Focal Passages: John 6:5-13, 35-40
There is a widely circulated story
about a successful business woman named Penelope Eddy and a vagrant named Jack.
According to the story, Eddy not only took the time to speak to the man, but
took him to a nearby restaurant. The man had succumbed to hopelessness. Once he
had been given a meal he didn’t earn or have any way to repay, Eddy explained
to him why she was helping.
She described a day that occurred many years before when she
had graduated college with grand hopes of making it big in the business world.
But, her attempts to find employment had been futile. She was depressed, out of
money, and desperately hungry. On what was one of the worst days of her life,
she stepped into that same restaurant and was given the biggest sandwich she
had ever eaten. The problem was that she didn’t have the money to pay. Sensing
the situation, a man took his own money and put it into the cash register to
pay for her meal. Eddy never forgot that act of kindness. She would gain
employment later that day and over time reach the pinnacle of her profession.
She was a changed woman. She never forgot that one act of kindness.
In performing miracles Jesus displayed an amazing capacity
for compassion. In this miracle he took the ordinary meal of a boy and
transformed it into a buffet for the multitudes. Those who ate found, at the
very least, temporary satisfaction – their stomachs were full.
The greater question is whether they found eternal
satisfaction for their souls. God gave the Hebrews manna from heaven in the Old
Testament. It was intended to satisfy, yet many of the recipients were
ungrateful. Jesus gave this miracle with the hope that the recipients would
connect the gift with the giver. Jesus explained He is the “bread of life,” the
new “bread from heaven.” I wonder what happened to the 12 extra basketfuls:
were they given to the 12 disciples so that they would not forget? If yes,
maybe it was now their turn to find a way to pay it forward.