Thursday 15 September 2022

Bible Book:
2 Kings

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, 'Give it to the people and let them eat.' (v. 42)

2 Kings 4:42-44 Thursday 15 September 2022

Psalm 23


Reminding us of the various feeding miracles in the gospels, this scene from 2 Kings concerns Elisha’s miraculous feeding 100 people with a relatively small amount of food. Initially the servant is sceptical about what is going to be possible. Elisha is clear and persistent in his direction to feed the group. He is confident that the Lord will provide more than enough food for everyone. It is a story that reminds us that there are critical moments in our mission and ministry that demand our immediate, direct and prayerful involvement in the problem at hand. There are times when just getting on with the task before us, step by step, is the only way forward in response to a crisis. Working with others and pooling our talents, time and gifts will get the job done.

There is a traditional story which tells of the making of 'stone soup'. It can be found on the internet in various versions, here is one:

A group of tired, hungry travellers arrive in an unfamiliar village one evening. They ask the local people if they can have something to eat and somewhere to stay. Their requests are denied, as the villagers do not feel that they have enough to spare. Realising they may need to use a different strategy, one of the travellers says loudly that if only we had a pot of water and a fire to put it on, then we could make some delicious 'stone soup'. Hearing this, a villager’s curiosity is piqued, and so both a cooking pot filled with water and the necessary items for building and lighting a fire are brought out to the travellers. After making a fire and heating the water, one of the travellers takes a clean round stone from a pocket and plops it into the pot. By now, quite a few people from the village have assembled. One of the travellers dips a finger into the warming pot of stone and water, tastes it thoughtfully, and proclaims it delicious, but in need of a little onion. Someone from the crowd of villagers remembers that they have a single onion to spare at home, and brings it down to give to the travellers to add to the soup. After adding the onion and tasting the soup again, the travellers agree that the soup is good, but could do with some carrot. Lo and behold, there is a villager with a spare carrot to add to the pot. Throughout the evening, this process repeats, until the stone soup contains all sorts of good things, including potatoes, salt, cabbage, butter, meat, tomatoes and celery. The smell is wonderful and the pot is very full. Tasting the soup again, the travellers declare the stone soup to be ready. The villagers and the strangers enjoy the magical soup together. To repay them for cooking, the villagers put up the strangers for the night.

To Ponder:

  • Have you experienced a situation in which apparent insurmountable challenges were overcome when people started to work together?
  • How can your church become the place where sharing is enabled to alleviate great need in your neighbourhood?
  • Have you ever found yourself in need and on the receiving end of the kind of care demonstrated through today’s Bible passage and the story of stone soup?
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