Meet Mike and Cheryl Barber. For the past 15+ years, this cheery couple has opened their humble home after church on Sundays to feed however many hungry bellies show up. Most guests are twenty-somethings, and many are international college students who deeply appreciate the friendly fellowship and family-style meal. Mike often grills, and chef Cheryl cooks up the tastiest of dishes — kabobs, pastas, chowders, spuds, stews, salads, etc. etc. Each and every week, all the sweet tooths in the house wait patiently for the moment when Cheryl unveils that day’s specialty dessert — she never offers the same item twice, unless by request.
What baffles me about the Barber’s free meals is how there’s always, always much more than enough. Serving trays and bowls may appear to be running low, but somehow they never run out, even when the crowd keeps streaming through the doors. Attendance is impossible to predict, and over the course of several hours anywhere between 15 and 50 young people file through the Barber’s serving line, squeeze elbow-to-elbow around their fold-out tables, eat, talk, laugh, and then return for heaping seconds and perhaps thirds. Just like the disciples gathered seven extra basketfuls of bread (Mark 8), Mike and Cheryl pack up the inevitable left-overs and send them off with whoever leaves last.
Going regularly to these gatherings has brought to life the story of Jesus freely giving a few loaves and fish to over four thousand folks. How cool it is to be a participant of something so similar. How much cooler it must be for Mike and Cheryl, the hospitable hands and hearts that channel this incredible modern miracle of multiplication. I’m inspired.
Have you ever seen Jesus feed the multitude?