Posted by: howvoicebegan | 27/09/2010

“You Give Them Something to Eat”

“You give them something to eat,” was his challenge to them. The task at hand: feed five thousand men, plus an uncounted number of women and children who had been attending a day of teaching—with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to share.

This month my challenge has been to provide food for 150 volunteers for the 8-day eye clinic we are hosting through One Sight. It’s a large scale clinic to serve 10 000 people in Mamelodi. My first concern echoed the disciples: that costs too much!
For two weeks I hunted down sources of donations for providing food with the help of Gavin, looking for any sort of deal I could get. The result was 4 free days of food, the rest being sandwiches to reduce the cost and effort needed in food preparation.
I spoke to a friend about the task ahead of me and he said, “Jesus fed 5 000 people. I think you can do 150.” I had no doubts of God stepping in, but I was sceptical as to how it would turn out.

Then, one more challenge presented itself starting on the first day the clinic opened: our volunteer numbers jumped from 150 to over 200 per day, meaning all budgeting and planning was short. Every morning I had to go through the same problem with the other meal coordinators—how are we providing for the extra people today? Each day there were frustrations, time limitations, and budgeting problems. When noon came around, I held on for dear life that what we had would be sufficient.

And it was. Somehow in the mess of careful calculations and filling in, we have ended up with enough extra food at the end of each day to make me wonder what I was worrying about the whole time. On Friday I was certain we would have hungry volunteers as one-quarter of the food donations were missing. By the time I rounded up the missing 38 personal pizzas, we had plenty with what we had been given and ended up with extra pizza we had to give away. Our 5 loaves and 2 fish turned into 12 baskets of leftovers.

I particularly like the duality of how God works. We turn to him and say, “Get these people to the place they need for help.” He turns to us and says, “No. You provide.” We obey and utilize what we can, and he fills in the gaps. But, he often doesn’t just do it for us; he expects our efforts first.
I am always renewing my understanding of doing “everything through him who gives me strength. ” (Philippians 4:13)

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