Last Sunday a team from my church set up a food line in the city for 100 plus people struggling with food insecurity. I was asked to give a devotional.
It’s not easy to talk to a long line of hungry people plus volunteers, in the open air, with the wind blowing, plus traffic noise in the background. So I pulled out my ‘Middle-school teacher’ voice and kept it short and to the point.
“Good afternoon, friends. My name is Derek and we’re glad to be with you. Mark’s Gospel tells how crowds followed Jesus into the hills to hear him teach. The disciples got nervous and wanted to send the hungry people away. Eventually Jesus multiplied some fish and bread so everyone got to eat.
“Now I’m going to interrupt the story. Who here has a favorite sports hero? They all do something special, right? (nods all around). Well, I have a favorite preacher and my favorite preacher does something that gets my attention. This preacher will stop dead in the middle of a message or Bible reading and say, ‘SO WHAT! So what makes this story important? or interesting? or life-changing?’
“’SO WHAT’ is a great question. The ‘SO WHAT?’ of this story is when Jesus looks at his disciples (they want someone else to take care of the problem) and he says, ‘You feed them.’ Not, ‘I’ll take care of it’ but, ‘You feed them…’
“Here’s my point. I don’t care if you’re young or old, rich or poor, black or white or brown or in between; I don’t care if you live in a big house or on the street – at some point Jesus is going to say, ‘You feed them; you take care of one another; you love your neighbor.’
“Today it’s our privilege to serve you. Tomorrow, or next week, Jesus is going to ask you to serve your neighbor. That’s just how Jesus rolls. That’s always his way. Whoever you are, taking care of your neighbor is what Jesus teaches.”