Crossroads: Feeding the Five Thousand

Mark 6:34-44

My Story

Growing up Baptist, I went to many potluck dinners. Whether it was Homecoming, two services meeting together, or just a random Sunday after church, we had a lot of potluck dinners. Chances are you know how these work—every one brings a dish (so you end up with 20 desserts and not much meat) and no matter how many people you have, there always seems to be enough food. While these are not miraculous dinners, at the same time, they are our own version of the feeding of the 5,000. We take a little bit of food from everyone, and each person has something to eat. And ministry happens around those tables. We reconnect with people we haven’t talked to in a while, meet new people, hear new stories, and discover things we have in common.

Your Story

Tell your children about a time when someone met a physical need of yours or you met a physical need of someone else’s. Alternatively, talk about a time when it seemed like you would run out of food (a Potluck, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Wedding Reception, etc.) and surprisingly you did not.

The Bible Story

Read Mark 6:34-44 with your family. From The Common English Bible:

When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things. Late in the day, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is an isolated place, and it’s already late in the day. Send them away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something to eat for themselves.’ He replied, ‘You give them something to eat.’ But they said to him, ‘Should we go off and buy bread worth almost eight months’ pay and give it to them to eat?’ He said to them, ‘How much bread do you have? Take a look.’ After checking, they said, ‘Five loaves of bread and two fish.’ He directed the disciples to seat all the people in groups as though they were having a banquet on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them, broke the loaves into pieces, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate until they were full. They filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. About five thousand had eaten.

Once you have finished, talk to your family about how physical needs were just as important to Jesus as spiritual needs. Jesus didn’t just tell people about himself and about who God was. He also fed them when they were hungry and healed them when they were sick. In this story, Jesus reminds us that we should take care of people’s physical needs as well.

Discussion Questions

• Ask your children if they have ever shared their lunch with someone who was hungry.
• Talk about how you, as a family, have cared for the physical needs of others.

Action

Find ways this week to take care of the physical needs of others—for example, giving food to a local food pantry, donating old clothes to a charity, giving money to sponsor a child, or going to a soup kitchen to serve a meal. Also, take time this week to have a family meal around the table. Be intentional about talking to each other during this meal (asking about everyone’s day, school, etc.). Try to make this a weekly practice.

Pray

Ask God to help you and your family recognize the physical needs of others. Pray for opportunities to share God’s love through serving.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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