The fishes, the loaves, and you

Has life become so difficult you feel like you just can't do it? Do you wonder how you will feed yourself or your family? The story of the fishes and loaves holds the answer.

There are days when I wake up tired; Days when the alarm goes off long before dawn, and I feel like I am already losing the race of life. My day is full of breakfast, work, family, food, shopping, laundry, yard work, church work and more. Everybody needs me, and I am giving and giving. I sneak in exercise and prayer, and then I give some more.

By the time the clock strikes 11 p.m. and I am changing over that last load of laundry, I feel as empty as the washing machine and just as spun. If I were money, I would be spent. If I was a river, I would be dry. If I was a basket, I would be empty.

In the New Testament in Mark chapter 6, we read about Jesus, the Savior, going to his hometown trying to teach. The scriptures say his neighbors were, “offended at him,” and he said, “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Then we read about the Savior being told by the disciples that he has lost his beloved cousin John the Baptist who was beheaded. After he receives the news, not speaking of himself, he focuses on the disciples and says, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

He and the disciples got into a boat to leave when people ran to be with the Savior. Just as you or I would. When the day was, “far spent,” the apostles pointed out that they were in the desert and the people had nothing to eat. They asked the Savior to send the people home to eat. He directed them to feed the people. They asked if they should buy food, but he asked them what they already had.

The apostles told the Savior they had five fishes and two loaves. They divided the people by 100’s and 50’s and had them sit on the grass. Then the Savior blessed and broke the fish and bread. Interestingly, first he fed his disciples.

After his disciples were full, he divided the remaining pieces of bread and fish into 12 baskets. Amazingly, after five fish and two loaves were eaten, there was enough food to fill 12 baskets. With that, they fed 5000 people.

The story still was not over. The Savior continued to take care of the disciples. He sent them in a ship while he took care of the people on shore. A storm rose, and he walked on water to meet the disciples, which taught them about faith.

Sometimes I understand what it feels like to be the basket filled with fish and loaves. I am prepared to give my all, but when I see the need that surrounds me as a mother, I am sure my all isn’t enough and we will go hungry spiritually and physically.

Then I remember the Savior, in Mark chapter 6. He must have been tired after not being accepted in his hometown, losing his beloved cousin John, gathering the apostles and teaching all day. And yet, he still took the time to care for his beloved disciples or followers, and then provided for the crowd. What a powerful message to me.

Here is what I learned from the story of the fishes and loaves

When I don’t have enough to give, I can ask for help

The Master expands our efforts. He takes what we have to give and makes it enough. I don’t have to do it all and do it alone.

The Savior cares about me

He fed his disciples first and cared about their needs. When I follow the Savior and work to serve him, he will take care of me. It is also important that I take care of myself and my spouse so that we can take care of our children.

I need not fear

If I do my best to follow and serve the Savior, He will make sure I am fed, rested and cared for. I don’t need to worry. I can have the kind of faith that allowed him to walk on water.

The Savior understands

We have all have bad days. On occasion, we have the kind of day that brings strong men to their knees. These are days where we lose those we love dearly to death, we lose homes, and we lose and lose and lose. He understands. There isn’t anything we will experience that he hasn’t.

He cares about everyone

Even when Jesus and his disciples had difficulties, they made time to teach the multitudes. I need to love everyone. Everyone matters to the Savior.

He will feed me

He cares whether I am fed spiritually as well as physically. He will take the time to listen to my prayers and needs and meet them. He loves me.

On those days when your family leaves you empty and spent, remember the miracle of the fishes and loaves. Remember your Savior is in the business of making whatever you have — enough. It is about much more than fish and bread it is about allowing the Savior to carry our burdens and to fill our empty places. When you worry and wonder what is for dinner, remember the miracle of the fish and loaves.

Shannon Symonds & Erin Oscarson

Shannon and Erin are a mother and daughter with lots of children and Utah and Oregon roots.