Matthew 15:36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
It is of major importance that, as multiple Gospels record, Jesus performed a major miracle of provision twice, and not just once. We get anxious about all sorts of things, but few things do that more thoroughly than not having enough to eat. Jesus had already taught very clearly and explicitly on the subject: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33) The crowd gathered on this occasion was seeking Jesus ahead of anything else, so Jesus met their physical needs as well. It is also worth noting that both here and in the first instance of miraculous provision of food (Matthew 14:13-21) Jesus gave thanks for the seemingly insufficient supply, before He multiplied it. If we fail to be thankful for what we do have, why would God give us any more? Ingratitude blinds us to what God has already given us in His grace, and it also tends to blind us to what He is wanting to give us. Gratitude is the key to many of the good things in life, and it is entirely up to us. We can choose to be grateful in any circumstances, even if it’s just being grateful that what we’re going through isn’t going to last forever. Such gratitude blunts the pain, spreads the peace, and multiplies the joy. An entitlement mentality is a horrible curse, and it’s currently endemic in much of the world. When we think we deserve all the good things we already have, we not only won’t be grateful for them, we’ll be resentful that we don’t have more. I doubt any of the multitude who were fed on this occasion complained about the lack of vegetables!
I’m thankful that I was raised with an awareness of this principle. Two things stand out in my memory of how my parents raised me in relation to this. The first was that if a food appeared on the table, I had to eat at least some of it. I still don’t like liver, but I love the onions that were cooked with it! As a result I have few strong dislikes when it comes to food, and can enjoy a wide variety of dishes. The other was that we had a firm principle that gifts came from someone, and that person was to be thanked, whatever we thought of the gift. Our Christmas mornings were deeply gratifying as each person opened a gift in turn, and we all took note of who that gift came from. I very early learned that it was more joyful to have someone be delighted with a gift I had chosen for them than it was to receive something myself. Gratitude among people blesses both parties! At this point in my life, if I start taking inventory of all that God has provided for me there’s literally no end to it! I have every reason to be grateful, and I must not let momentary disappointments rob me of the blessings involved with that.
Father, thank You for Your overwhelming provision of everything, from life itself all the way down to such things as tissues to blow my nose. May I be the steward You want me to be of all of that, doing with it what You intend, so that Your purposes may be fulfilled in and through me on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!