Loans and Fishes

Loans and Fishes

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When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

I’ve heard that the ancient rabbis compared the scriptures to a multi-faceted jewel. The idea was that studying the scriptures was like holding a beautiful jewel between your fingers, and in slowly rotating it, each of the facets would catch light in a beautiful new ways, illustrating more and more of the jewel’s beauty.

I’ve always liked that comparison. First, because it illustrates the deep beauty of the scriptures and how there are always new treasures and complexities to discover within the texts. Second, I like the comparison because as I’ve been thinking about the above story from scripture, it has opened up more and more potential insights in regard to mission and the role of the church (and it’s people).

  • What does this story say about the character of Jesus and his relation to the poor? 
  • Can a mission strategy start with meager offerings, yet produce big results?
  • What does Jesus’ command to the disciples say to us? 
  • What do we do with our surplus? What should the church’s orientation be toward our excess?
  • Where can Colonial invest in a way that brings material, spiritual, and emotional inclusion and fulfillment?) 
  • What does this passage imply about the care and inclusion of women and children? 
  • How can Colonial make an impact with our mission work? What can we do together and with God’s help, that we can’t do alone?

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We could continue to explore more and more facets of this scripture and what it can teach us about mission, but let’s end the list there. I should share why I brought it up in the first place!

This story from scripture – and many of the ideas illustrated within it – will be a theme that runs through Colonial’s mission work in the coming year. You may have noticed the logo and tag lines in the header. You’ll be seeing that a lot this coming year. Here are some specifics:

Colonial does food as mission.

On Sunday, September 20th, we’ll be having a “Farmer’s Market” during and between services. This will be a time to celebrate and interact with all the ways our mission work at Colonial involves food. You certainly won’t want to miss church that Sunday.

Continuing this fall, Daniel will be focusing on food as a theme for his sermons. Prepare to be fed.

Colonial does finance as mission.

Just as a lot of our mission work has food as a core focus, much of our mission work has finance as a focus as well.

  • Loans-and-Fishes-Finance_3From small groups of Burundian women who meet in Savings Groups to save pennies;
  • to a growing investment as a church in micro-finance;
  • to new involvement in fair trade practices, led by Innové 2 protégé Fair Anita;
  • to offering a just alternative to payday lenders, championed by Innové 1 protégé Exodus Lending;
  • to Innové itself, which uses our collective expertise to empower young social entrepreneurs to achieve a greater mission impact than we could do individually,

You add those bullet points together, and it’s clear that Colonial does finance as mission.

Whereas the “fishes” side of the logo will be get a big splash on Sunday, September 20th, we’re taking a different approach to the “loans” side. You’ll be hearing about Colonial’s engagement in financial mission in frequent, steady drips this fall. Better, the drips are intentionally watered throughout all ages at Colonial, with Children’s and Youth ministries being equal and energetic participants in this.

Drips evaporate quickly, so we’ll conclude this year’s focus on financial mission with a big splash next spring. Details of that big splash event are still to be determined, but based on early planning, I know you’ll enjoy it.

Thank you for your support of mission at Colonial. I look forward to the year ahead!

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