Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
The Kingdom of God
Week of Prayer #21
Luke 9:10-17   The Feeding of Five Thousand

Quiet Waters

In Luke Chapter 8-9, we have recorded the ministry activity of Jesus and the disciples:

Teaching about the Kingdom of God
Jesus calming a storm
The healing of the Gerasene Demoniac
A twelve-year-old girl dies and Jesus restores her to life
A woman is healed of a bleeding disorder
The disciples are sent out on a mission

When the disciples return to Jesus, they withdraw to a private place for a time. This does not last long. When the crowd hears about it, they seek for them there. Luke then shares this with us:

Jesus welcomed them. 
He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God.
He healed those who needed to be cured. 

Let that sit with you for a moment. 

In an attempt to be compassionate to the people, the disciples bring to Jesus’ attention their need for shelter and food, and they counsel him to send the crowd away. They speak to Jesus from the perception of their limitations: they do not have any way of feeding these people. 

Jesus speaks into their perceived limitations:

You give them something to eat.

The disciples do not see how this is possible with the five loaves of bread and the two fish they do have and suggest a hypothetical purchase of food for 5,000 men plus the women and children present. 

At this point, Jesus directs the disciples to have the people sit in groups of about 50 people. He then takes what they have, looks to heaven and gives thanks for what they have and then has the disciples distribute it to the people. Everyone has enough and there are 12 baskets of leftovers. 

I would like to suggest that Jesus is approaching this ‘dilemma’ from the perspective of the abundance of the Kingdom of God. The disciples are seeing it only through the limitations of their material resources. 

In the course of the past week or so, I have interacted with several people who speak of being busy. One person said they need to be busy. Another said he is busy and that is good. I am wondering if the need to be busy has become another form of an addiction to distraction for our culture. 

Here is a phrase you will not find in the Gospels: “Jesus was busy.” Look again at the list of ministry activities listed above. We do not know the time frame involved here, but it is a very full schedule. But Jesus was not busy. Maybe the disciples felt busy, but Jesus was not busy. 

I find that in the midst of this activity, Jesus feels settled into his relationship as a beloved Son of the Father and in the reality of Being in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is enough and Jesus knows that the abundance of the Kingdom of God is enough. There is always enough time. There is always enough resources. I am enough. In the Kingdom of God and in the reality of Being and of belovedness, I am enough. In God we live and move and have our Being. We are enough.

Jesus welcomes, teaches and heals the crowd, because He is enough. 

Jesus feeds this great crowd of people because there is enough. 

Jesus is not busy. Jesus is fruitful. Jesus does not call us to be busy. Jesus calls us to be fruitful. This is the lifestyle we are called to as followers of Jesus. Jesus does not create a busy people. Jesus creates a people out of rest. 

It is so easy to overlook that Jesus invited the disciples to come to a place of rest after their mission. And Jesus had rhythms of prayer. Jesus sought out the “quiet waters and the green pastures” in order to live from His “enoughness”, His belovedness and the abundance of the Kingdom. 

Don’t say, “I am busy. I don’t have time to pray.” Neither of those are true statements. You are enough. God has made you enough. Live from your belovedness and the abundance of the Kingdom of God. There is always enough. In love, there is always enough to give, because there is always an abundance to receive.

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