We are still with Moses this week, and again we have another of the major stories of the Israelite’s journey through the desert.
The Israelites are doing what they seem to excel at – complain! They complain to Moses and Aaron and they complain to God. They are hungry, they want to go back to what they knew in Egypt and would prefer to have died in Egypt than in the wilderness they are currently in. One aside I want to make, is the way that Moses and Aaron deflect the complaining. They tell the Israelites not to complain to or at them, but to God. It’s not their fault I can hear them saying, keen to pass the buck onto God. We’re just following instructions, don’t blame us.
God hears the Israelites’ complaints and cries, yet again, and responds to them. God sends meat – quail – in the evenings and bread – manna – in the mornings for them. Each is to gather just what they need with the ability to gather twice as much on the 6th day of the week so that they can observe the sabbath on the 7th and do no work. The other thing we are told is that regardless of how much or little they gather all the people end up having what they need. No one gets more than they need because they spend the time and energy to do the gathering, nor do those who can’t gather as much as they need get less than they need. The gift of quails and manna in the desert is shared evenly amongst all the people, no one was left out or disadvantaged.
This food in the desert was to remain with the Israelite people until they didn’t need it anymore. God made sure they were cared for and sustained.
Our theme for today is to go share. We say many a time how abundantly God cares for us, giving us what we need. This is what happened with the Israelites, but it wasn’t just one tribe or group of people who were fed. God’s grace and mercy and food was shared out to all. This reminds me of all that we receive and our responsibility to share with those around us and not just keep that love and grace locked up inside us, hidden from others.
I think of the stories of Jesus when he walked this earth. Of all the times he shared of himself with others, the meals he shared, the love he shared, the welcome and inclusiveness he shared with all. As followers of Christ, we need to be doing the same – sharing with those around us. So that is our challenge today, go and share what you have with others, share the love that you have found, share your presence, your prayers, your abilities. What I would say is most important is to go share the knowledge and teachings of Christ with the world.