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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Today’s Reading | Matthew 15:29–39

After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he 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. Those who had eaten were four thousand men, besides women and children. After sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan. (NRSV)


My wife and I are blessed with two wonderful girls, both of whom love to go shopping. As they consider purchasing yet another pair of jeans or one more hair brush, I often ask a question that has become a refrain they are quite tired of hearing: “Do you really need that or do you just want it?” There is a tremendous difference between really needing something and simply wanting it, and we can all wrestle with this question from time to time.

In today’s scripture passage, we can find many answers about what we really need. Jesus began by isolating himself and taking some quiet time alone, but soon he had the companionship of “great crowds.” What these “great crowds” needed was to be made healthy, and once they had their health, they needed simple food. Jesus needed compassion, literally to act with passion, as he healed them and then gave thanks over the meager food that the disciples could gather. Then Jesus had the humility to step aside and let the disciples pass out the food to the hungry people rather than doing it himself.

So what do we really need according to this story? Quiet time but also companionship; we need good health and simple food. We need to be thankful, have compassion for others, and be humble. That’s a pretty good list of what we really need.    


God of abundance, help me to know the difference between what I need and what I want, and help me to be thankful for all that I already have. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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