Matthew 14:15-21 NIV
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
- What do we learn about Jesus?
- What do we learn about people?
- What stands out to you?
- How should we respond?
Ruth lives in a nice middle- class neighborhood in Hyderabad, India. She is pastoring a young vineyard church which is mainly made up of African college students. She didn’t know how to reach the locals at first.
In October, while going on a prayer walk in the neighborhood, she got an idea to serve some chai and snacks at the end of her street. She had noticed some cleaning ladies coming out of a bank building after a hard day’s work. She has a cleaning lady at her house who is a new believer. So the two of them served chai three different times and prayed for some of the people they met on the streets.
As Ruth continued her prayer walks, she met more of the cleaning ladies who worked at neighbors’ houses. It turns out they all know each other and had heard that she prayed for the sick. A few people experienced healing including some street sweepers on her street as she continued to get God’s heart for the poor around her neighborhood.
She also had a conversation with the garbage collector and his daughter who she thought should be in school. She told them Jesus loved them, but the dad said “we’re Hindus, and only pray to our gods.”
Then during the COVID19 lockdown in the last three months, Ruth continued to pray. She has two other house helpers and Saraswathy who is a new believer began to share with them about Jesus. Ruth expressed the desire to share some food with the poor because they were hearing how many people were jobless and needed food but she didn’t know how to find them. One of her house helpers, Indramma went out to talk with the garbage collectors one day. She asked them if they needed food. They said yes and that they hadn’t been paid but were still working to collect the garbage. Ruth and her house helpers gave the garbage collectors some food and told them to tell others who were hungry. Indramma and Swapna also knew people who were jobless and hungry from their neighborhoods nearby. Soon people began to come to Ruth’s house one by one for food.
As they measured food into sacks of rice and lentils, they were shocked to discover that the food had multiplied. They had 10kg more of rice! Indramma got so excited she stood at the gate and as the people came for food, she told them what Jesus had done. This happened several times in a couple weeks.
Soon Saraswathy, Indramma and Swapna began to study the bible together and find the stories of Jesus multiplying the food for the 5,000 and 4,000. As people came to Ruth’s house for food, these ladies told them stories about Jesus and that Jesus loved them all.
A few weeks ago, they gave food to the garbage collector and his daughter Dhana. Dhana told Ruth that their whole neighborhood were garbage collectors and needed food. She also heard some stories about Jesus and was very receptive. Dhana is 13 years old!
Yesterday, Ruth and her helpers and one Nigerian student, Fortune, from her Vineyard, went to visit the garbage collector’s neighborhood. They gave food to over 100 families and once again the ladies saw the food multiply as they filled the sacks with rice and lentils. They measured 35kg more rice! Then Saraswathy told the people about God’s love for them and that He multiplied the food because He loves them so much. Everyone was smiling and receiving the words about Jesus in this desperate place next to the city dump.