He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)
Justice and mercy.
If you’ve been reading my posts over the past few days, you’ll know these are two words very much on my mind and heart at the moment. In fact, I can’t move without being faced by them.
As I washed the dishes and hung washing out before work this morning, I listened to a talk by Gary Haugen, the founder of the International Justice Mission, recommended to me a couple of weeks ago. You can find it here, on the Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York, website. I’m not going to summarize his whole presentation here as it’s far better to listen to it, but a couple of things he mentioned jumped out at me.
Number one, the biggest thing that people struggle to grasp about God is that He is a good God. I knew that before he even said it. How else will those suffering injustice, like slavery, poverty and exploitation see that God is good if God’s people, the church, do not seek to rescue them and fight for justice? It is encouraging to hear how IJM is doing this across the world, rescuing those in slavery and suffering injustice and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Number two, the feeding of the five thousand, found in the New Testament, in Mark chapter six. When the disciples came to Jesus and asked him to send away the crowd to get something to eat he said, ‘You feed them.’ They objected saying how much money it would cost to feed that number of people. So Jesus says, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ One boys packed lunch – five loaves and two fishes. Jesus takes that and then does the miracle, feeding well over five thousand people with leftovers.
‘What do you have?’
You see I often find myself afraid to do something because I don’t feel qualified. I’m not a lawyer, a nurse, not a teacher or a politician…I find myself thinking, if only I’d done this or that I could have been of more use. Why did I study Communications Studies and Sociology instead of something more practical?! Jesus doesn’t say that though, he says, ‘What do you have?’
It comes back to that phrase, ‘you can’t do everything, but everyone can do something.’ Give Jesus that something, do something with it and he does the miracle. It is his job to do the multiplication.
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And the boy’s mum made sure that he went off with a packed lunch. Such was her love.
And there is nothing to indicate that the boy clutched his loaf and fishes to himself with the words “No, they’re mine!”. In fact, in a crowd of five thousand, it is unlikely that what he had was seen – in which case he brought his lunch forward willingly.
I’ve never heard a preacher mention the boy. He’s in the story for a reason.