Who figured last July 13 when the National League won the All-Star Game for the first time in 13 years that it would cost the Texas Rangers home field advantage in the World Series? Who would have ever believed that the number one best pitcher in the sport is the Rangers’ ace? Who would have thought that, if the Rangers ever actually got to the Fall Classic, they would actually be favored by the national media and experts to win it?
It will never be this special again. It will never be this exciting. The first time is always the best. It can never happen again. The Rangers could win the next ten championships in a row and none of them will be as special as this first time experience. As I tell my girls, let’s really savor this moment. Let’s really enjoy this series. Let’s cheer for every hit. Let’s high-five for every stolen base. Let’s hold our breath on every 3-2 count. Let’s run in place like Ron Washington on every play at the plate. Let’s grin with every Cliff Lee “K.” Let’s cringe with every Vladdie whiff and erupt with joy every time he makes contact. Let’s appreciate every re-telling of Josh Hamilton’s redemption story. Let’s swell our chests out with pride every time the TV cameras show Nolan and Ruth. Let’s allow our hearts to start and stop with the drama of every single pitch. And let’s live and die with this team for the next week and a half as they make more history with every passing minute.
Get your antlers up and, if you haven’t already, allow yourself to fall in love with these guys and this story.
In Matthew 14, Jesus is teaching and healing the crowds on the other side of the lake. They’ve all been together most of the day. Huge crowd. Five thousand men. Who knows how many women and children? And it’s getting to be dinner time. It’s getting late. Evening is quickly approaching. And there’s not a Cheddar’s or a Chick-Fil-A drive-thru in sight.
All these people are hungry. They need food. And the apostles are concerned for these people. The apostles are worried. They tell Jesus, “Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus has a better idea:
“You give them something to eat.”
Yeah, right. How in the world are these twelve disciples going to feed more than five thousand people in the middle of this remote place? Even if there was a Kroger around the corner, how would they pay for it? Surely Jesus is kidding. We’ve got a total of five little loaves of bread and two tiny fish. Seriously, Lord, what’s the plan here?
“He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.”
Same thing in Matthew 15: “…he broke them and gave them to his disciples, and they in turn to the people.” Mark 6: “…he gave them to his disciples to set before the people.” Mark 8: “…he told the disciples to distribute them.” Luke 9: “…he gave the bread to the disciples to set before the people.”
Church of Christ — yes, forgive us — we’re always looking for a pattern. You want a pattern? Here’s a pattern that the apostles and the writers of Scripture and God’s Holy Spirit feel like is pretty important. We find the exact same quote, the exact same words of Jesus, preserved in each of the synoptic Gospels: You give them something to eat.
Here’s the pattern: Jesus gives to his disciples; in turn, his disciples give to others. That’s the plan. That’s the way it works. Throughout his earthly ministry our Lord was intentional about equipping and empowering his followers to do the work. He sent them out, over and over again, two by two, giving them authority and power to heal and feed and minister and love. Luke 9. Luke 10. Mark 6. Jesus sends his disciples to do his work, he says don’t take anything with you, depend on the Father to protect you and provide for you and work with you and through you. And in every instance, Scripture tells us they did. And they were blown away by the results.
“Even the demons are submitting to us in your name!”
And around the table on that last night, he reminded his disciples, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing” (John 14:12).
As a child of God and a disciple of his Christ, you don’t need any special permission to serve and minister to others. You’ve already got it. When Jesus says, “You give them something to eat,” he’s talking to you. You have the power. You have the authority. You have the right. And the obligation. We were all created and redeemed by the Father to be his kings and priests. All of us. And we — all of us — need to start acting like it.