Today's verses are Mark 8:4-7: "And his disciples answered him, 'How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?'  And he asked them, 'How many loaves do you have?'  They said, 'Seven.'  And he directed the crowd teo sit down on the ground.  And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.  And they had a few small fish.  And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them." For three days people had been listening to Jesus' teaching.  They numbered 4,000.  They became weary, tired and hungry.  Jesus had compassion on them.  Not remembering the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 that had previously happened, the disciples wondered how all these people could be fed in "this desolate place."

Jesus found seven loaves.  He directed the crowds to sit down.  He gave thanks to God for the seven loaves.  Then he discovered there were also a few small fish.  He blessed the fish.  Then he put the seven loaves and few fish before all the multitudes, ready to feed them.

Notice first how Jesus gave thanks and blessed the food before everyone ate.  This remains a model for all of us before we eat.  We should thank God for his provision of food.  He doesn't have to give us food to meet our hunger needs.  But he does.  And the food is blessed.  This blessing has a purpose.  The purpose is to make the 4,000's bodies stronger so they can more ably serve God.

Therefore, before each meal, always remember to thank God from whom all blessings flow, especially our food.  It's a gift of grace from almighty God!  He chooses to give it to us simply because he loves us.  And then ask a blessing on the food to give our bodies strength so we can serve God more faithfully.

Giving thanks to God for our food before each meal while also asking God to bless it for our service to him is a constant reminder to us of God's constant grace and abiding love.  It reminds us of how he cares for us, intimately, in all our desolate places.  We remind ourselves that God is God and we are not God and that we are here to serve him, not vice versa.

The model of giving thanks and blessing our food each meal comes from Jesus himself.  It's a reminder to us from whom all blessings flow and his call to us to be his servants in a hurting, dying world.