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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by William A. Kolb

Saturday, May 30

They ate and were filled…now there were about four thousand people.
—Mark 8: 8a, 9a

Well, this would seem to be quite a miracle. Jesus is concerned about the crowds who have been following him and his disciples. They hang on his every word and action, and they do not want to go home. They want to go on listening and learning and feeling the power of new and divine inspiration for their lives. They do not even worry about getting enough food.

Jesus decides something needs to be done to feed all these people. He observes that even if they leave for home now, they might very well faint on the way. So he calls his disciples to him and asks about their resources. “How much bread and fish do we have, all put together?” he asks. Turns out there is not very much: seven loaves and “a few” small fish. Hardly enough to feed four thousand hungry mouths.

But as the disciples distribute this food among the crowds, it turns out that everyone—every one of the four thousand—is fed, and there is some bread and some fish left over! A miracle.

Our modern, “Western” minds, always wanting rational explanations, need to just accept this as a miracle. Hard to understand, but then, miracles cannot be “understood” by the mind. They can only be rejected or accepted by the spirit.

I recall the Episcopal priest who came to see me at my home when I was 26. That brief visit mushroomed into my baptism later that year and my admission to seminary five years afterward. Seminary was followed by thirty-five years of ordained parish ministry. To me, that is just as much of a miracle.

God can feed us fully with so little, especially if we are willing to eat of the food he offers. (Actually, it helps if we are eager, but willing will do.) The Word of God can plant a seed in us that can grow larger than anything else in our life. The hand of friendship extended by someone moved by the Holy Spirit can reach out to us and make our life whole. There is simply no end to the miracles that God can work.

Just four loaves and a few small fish, for four thousand people! It happens every day. 

Lord, we give you thanks for your daily miracles all around us. Amen.

This Signpost originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.