In reading today’s scripture the words don’t bother came to mind quickly. We have Moses asking God to kill him rather than to put up with the people complaining about not having meat and having to settle for manna. (Our vegans and vegetarians now love Moses).
Then we have Jesus who goes off to be by himself only to have people follow him and then run out of food. Jesus says the the disciples who can feel the weight of the burden of feeding all these people on them “Give them something to eat yourselves.”
And the disciples basically say that it’s impossible because some little kid is the only one with food (liars!) and all he has are 5 loaves and 2 fish. Now everyone thinks that it’s cute that the kid will give up his lunch, but that ain’t about to feed everyone.
And so Jesus could have said “Kid, don’t bother! Eat your lunch!” But instead he shows the meal to all and the crowd is moved. So much so that those hoarding food gave to others and that whatever shortfall there may have been was changed by God to satisfy those who were hungry.
The point of the story is that God never says “don’t bother.” God says “You darn well need to bother.”
We need to care for one another and when we do so others get involved too by our inspiring example.
There’s a further point in the gospel and our reading. Moses could have not bothered with the grumbling people, after all, he’s the one who is talking to God. But instead he asks God’s advice and is unafraid to complain to God. He could’ve said “don’t bother” but something inside beckoned him to grumble to God about it.
And so it should be with us. We need to grumble a bit and we need to take time for those who need someone to bother. It will take some time for us to care for the needs of others–but we can never say don’t bother. We need to make a minimal effort to care for the hungry, the needy—and we can never do it all. But God will redeem the suffering of those that we can’t reach.
I always resonate with the child who offers his lunch so that others can eat in the gospel story and then I resonate with Moses who basically throws his hands up in the air and says “Why do I even bother!?” But then he asks for God’s help anyway.
Today let us pray for the patience we will need to keep us bothering with everyone else and to know that we should be bothered by the fact that more than two-thirds of the world will be hungry today. We can indeed do something about that instead of not being bothered. Let us pray that for today, we will be bothered and in turn, bother to do something about that.