They were part of the crowd; people were passing food around, bit of bread, a little bit of fish…very nice. Then a man, this Jesus fellow that they had heard a bit about – perhaps rumours of healings or stories of trouble making – whatever, they thought he might be worth going to listen too. But they may not have realised they were part of a miracle.
We don’t know for sure (it would seem out of character) but I imagine Jesus’ first concern was not for everyone to know about the miracle. There is no formal announcement from Jesus reported by the gospel writers’.
….just to let you know, at the beginning of this talk, there was free bread and fish given out, it was actually a miracle that I performed on your behalf, being the Son of God as I am, to ensure you did not continue to feel hungry…
Consequently, I wonder how many people actually said “Thankyou” to Jesus, I wonder how many people even acknowledged Him as they left. Or how mnay were taken up with their own stories, and their own full stomachs. I can only assume that however the meal ended, Jesus didn’t receive the thanks He deserved!?!
‘Deserved’, that’s a loaded word.
I think as a youth worker I have something to learn from Jesus here. In the simple miracle that is feeding young people or offering them shelter of the space I call youth club, I sometimes I find it frustrating that I’m not appreciated, in fact sometimes I’m walked right past and ignored, sometimes I wonder if they realize who I am at all. Yet the longer I dwell on this, the more I realsie it’s my problem more than it is theirs. Youthwork confronts us with our own insecurities and ego to fully engage with the young people we meet.
‘….for I know where I’ve come from and where I’m going…’ John 8:14 NIV.
Christ’s security, His sense of ‘self’ and his calling, was placed not in people thanking him for the miracles performed. Jesus knew his worth as the beloved of God. So we too are challenged to know the voice of God as one who calls us in our work and tells us who we are. Our worth is in God’s call of love to us which has been there from the beginning – not in the acts we perform.
This way of being and of knowing ourselves is not only important for our wellbeing, but also for the lives we model to young people. I’m often struck by the people in my life that I feel are secure within themselves, I’m drawn to them, their experience and wisdom. Really however, I’m drawn to the God who they are allowing to speak through them.
My prayer for my ministry and yours is that we will allow God to speak through us in this way: to hear His voice, even in our own brokenness and vulnerability, not looking to hear praise for what we have done, but mediating on what was said over us from the beginning, that we are the beloved of God.