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CityLight Pastor Commentary:
In Matthew 14:13-21, Jesus takes 5 loaves and 2 fish and feeds 5,000 men plus women and children. In Matthew 15:32-39, Jesus takes 7 loaves and a ‘few little fish’ and feeds 4,000 men plus women and children. Why include both stories? Why the duplication? The numbers change, but the story is still much the same. Yet nothing in the Bible is included by accident. I believe God included this narrative twice, albeit in slightly different form, to free us from being formulaic in our ministry and in our prayers. We notice a few things in common in both accounts: 1) Jesus was moved with compassion, 2) the bread multiplied as it passed through the hands of Jesus’ disciples (as opposed to Jesus distributing the meal Himself), 3) Jesus thanked His Father for the meal before it was multiplied, and 4) there was more than enough. God does not want our relationship with Him to be formulaic. He doesn’t want our prayer life to be formulaic. He doesn’t want our expectations to depend on how many people are present or the resources we have at our disposal. The number of people present changed in each account, yet in both instances Jesus allowed His compassion to translate into material blessing through the hands of His disciples. When we trust Him to minister through us with compassion to the people around us – no matter how pressing the need or how scarce our resources – the end result will always be abundant provision!
“Father, help me to avoid formulas and rituals. I want Your compassion to pass through me to the people around me every single day! Regardless of what I see in front of me, help me to remember that You always provide more than enough.”