Send them away!

( Matthew 14: 13-21)

By Loraine Fern Stoughton Todd

“Send the multitude away”?
How could those who walked with Jesus speak like that?
Were they without feeling, without sight to see the need?
Did they not know the One with whom they walked?

But, then, am I not like those disciples
when my day is full and my burdens great?
Have I not thought, and said,
Master, send them away!

I recall that evening:
Father, this day was ever so long –
my mind and body are weary,
Without Your Presence each moment I could not have endured its weight.
The load is so constant, Lord.
It bears down upon me even now at day’s end
and will greet me again at morning’s light ….

Oh, dear, is that someone clapping at the gate?
It is late and I’m sure it’s next door…
No, it’s at our gate.
Someone is calling my name.
Dear Master, send her away!

Father, I cannot labor for You today.
I just received this sad news.  I need time to reflect and pray.
But the study group is waiting, child.
Yes, I can hear their chatter – excited, full of joy.
I cannot bear it!
Please, Lord, send them away!

Is that Lucia, Lord, waiting for me?
Oh, no!  She is weeping.
My heart is so heavy –
already filled to breaking with the shared burdens of others.
Can’t she and I talk tomorrow?
Send her away!

“And Jesus … was moved with compassion toward them,
and He healed their sick.”

Dare I say, as His disciples did,
“This is a desert place,
and the time is now past;
send the multitude away”?

And you.
Are you so preoccupied that you do not see the hungry multitude –
those who are starving for want of spiritual food?
Do you not see the lost
who are dying with the dread disease of sin?
Do you say, as Jesus’ disciples did,
Send them away?

Or are you so concerned for the lack of workers,
the lack of funds, facilities, time, strength – the lack
that you do not see that the crowd has nowhere else to go?
The starving cannot wait,

Brazil- 1980

the feeble cannot endure,
the dying can only beg.

Send them away?
No!  The Lord said, Give them to eat.
Bring what you have to me.

Then, taking the inadequate,
He blessed and multiplied it and gave it back.
The disciples took from Jesus’ hand
the supply,now adequate, abundant.

They received of Christ and ministered to the multitude.

Send them away?
Jesus says, Give them to eat!
How can we who walk with Jesus
send them away?

Loraine Fern Stoughton Todd was a missionary to Brazil with her husband John (1976-1988)
Her poem ” Send Them Away” was published in The Alliance Witness,(now Alliance Life) Jan.21, 1981



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