Today’s Scripture: Mark 6:35-44
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.
Lessons From The Pond
Last week I walked by the pond in the church courtyard and saw several black things swimming around. I made my way over the pond (scaring the fish into retreat under the waterfall) and discovered…tadpoles! Not just a few tadpoles either. I counted over 50!
Immediately my mind went into a small panic. Are we about to have a plague of over 50 frogs overrunning the church courtyard? What will we do? Will we have to trap them? Will there be so many we can’t walk out there? Will they all jump on me when I walk by. (In case you missed it, I’m not a huge fan of frogs.)
My brain was going into what I call “future catastrophe” mode. It takes one piece of information and immediately catastrophizes it into the future. For example, a little pain in my knee means it has to be replaced. A friend not returning a text for a few hours means I’ve done something to upset them and I’ll never have any friends again. A gas pipeline being shut down for a week means I need to buy a bicycle and will never again be able to fill my car. Yup, I’m very good at catastrophizing.
We are going to get frogs in the pond, that’s true. But it won’t be a plague. Most of the tadpoles won’t mature. The truth is, our future catastrophes almost never materialize into actual catastrophes. But when we allow ourselves to go there, our bodies react as if it’s true. And it seems that when we future catastrophize, we tend to leave God out of our thinking.
The disciples did this with Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000. They saw dinnertime coming and immediately thought – this is going to be a catastrophe. It’s almost like they forgot who they were dealing with! Of course, Jesus took the potential catastrophe and made it into a demonstration of his care and love and power.
Maybe we should remember that the next time our minds want to run to the worst-case scenario!
Thank you God for using nature to remind us of truths about you and about life. Help us this day to not catastrophize but to instead trust that you have our future in your hands.