O Me of Little Faith
Updated: Jul 27
A small group of us met in the church parking lot and waited for others to arrive. A member of our Sunday school class, Patricia, had passed away after a long, courageous battle with cancer. The ladies in our class, a cooking-and-baking bunch who always brought way too much food to our socials, had volunteered to prepare the meal for the family after the funeral service.
We waited, but no one else showed up.
My administrative nature sized up the food situation and panic set in. There was absolutely no way we would be able to feed a group of 40 with this meager amount of food! Even if the fast-food restaurant was open, we didn’t have enough time to drive across town to get more chicken.
“Ladies,” said my faith-filled friend, Pam, “We are just going to have to trust God that what we have is enough."
I wanted to trust God, but my faith wavered. I closed my eyes and whispered a silent prayer: Lord, please don’t let everyone in the family come for the meal!
We put the food in the kitchen and went into the sanctuary for the service. Every pew was filled. As the funeral came to a close, the Pastor gave the attendees instructions about the graveside service...and then proceeded to invite everyone back to the church for lunch.
My eyes flew open and my mouth gaped. I looked at Pam, whose eyes were also wide.
“Did he just invite everyone back for lunch?”
She nodded. I scanned the room. There were at least 200 people in attendance! I whispered a desperate prayer: Lord, please don’t let everyone come back for the meal!
We hurried to the kitchen and, as we prepared to serve, paused to pray. Unlike my quick and doubting prayers asking for less people, Pam prayed for the Lord to multiply the food.
Whenever I read the story in the Gospels, where Jesus took just two loaves of bread and five fish and fed 5000, I try to imagine what it must have been like to have been there that day.
Did the young boy willingly offer up his lunch? Or was he reluctant because he was a long way from home and feared he’d get hungry?
The disciples knew Jesus intimately and had watched Him perform other miracles, yet there they were, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a multitude, and when Jesus instructs them to feed the masses, they gave reasons why it wasn’t possible. I visualize them exchanging glances — mouths gaped, wide-eyed and in disbelief — at what Jesus was asking them to do. Despite any doubt, they brought the bread and fish to Jesus, watched Him break both and give thanks to God. Then they served the people and the people ate until they were satisfied and full. Afterward, Jesus told them to collect the leftovers. As they brought 12 full baskets to Jesus, I imagine they were filled with emotion. Were they in awe of what they witnessed? Excited that they were part of a such a miracle? Or humbled and ashamed because they had little faith and they had doubted Jesus?
And I wonder if the people there that day realized they were the reason for the miracle and were personally fed by Jesus? Did that meal change their lives?
For over two hours, we served Patricia’s family and friends…and even some strangers who wandered in off the street. Everyone ate until they were satisfied and some even took home leftovers. When the last guest left, we exhaled and excitedly high-fived each other. God had answered prayers: there had been enough food!
As we cleaned up, Pam came out of the kitchen. With tear-filled eyes, she held out a complete pan of unopened, foil-covered fried chicken.
Tears filled my own eyes...O me of little faith!
Not only did God provide enough food, He had provided more than enough. God had literally multiplied the chicken and sweet tea!
Over the past ten years, in Sunday school, we have often talked about what God did at Patricia’s funeral. So, recently, when we found ourselves in a very similar situation — another impromptu invitation to the multitude of guests when we had planned for a limited number — I didn’t doubt. I remembered what God had done before and believed He would do it again.
And He did.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
- Matthew 7:7-11