Is there really nothing there?
Some years ago, on a flight to and from Budapest, my travelling companion and I got talking to the same couple, sharing as we did the same flights. As we waited to board the plane on the homeward journey, we compared notes about our visit. We absolutely loved the city and a had a great time. Meanwhile, their experience of the same place was quite different, and they spent most evenings in the ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ whilst we had taken delight in wandering away from such places, dining out in more ‘local’ places, tried to get to know the city as it was. It is all too easy to dismiss a places, to say “there is nothing there.” But get beneath the skin of a place, community, a town or suburb or city and one discovers a rich life worth living.
Perhaps the crowds who have followed Jesus appear to be in such a place. There, on the hillside, it appears there are no resources, there seems to be nothing there. After a little exploration, they discover a small boy with a few loaves and fish, and yet this, so the disciples think, still isn’t enough. ‘What is that between so many?’
As Jesus uses the small amount available in that place to feed thousands of people he shows us many things: his Lordship and kingship, his care and compassion, and he gives us a foretaste of the Eucharist, a small gift or gigantic proportions. He shows us, too, not to undervalue or overlook the ‘small things’ we think we have. We all have something to offer. Every person and place has something to offer, if only we scratch beneath the surface.
Lord God, open our eyes to the gifts and resources you have given us, and to use them to your glory and in your service and the service of others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.