Loaves and Fishes and Love Bombs



When I shared with a girlfriend that my family is giving love bombs on our roadtrip from Boston to LA, she chuckled into her burrito.

“Your family is always doing big things. You’re such a big thinker.”

I warmed to the compliment, but felt unsettled at the praise.

This is just who my people are: big thinkers, grand dreamers, terrific schemers. My husband and I are those annoying visionary type people who see things as they could be and paint pictures of wholeness where there is none.

It was only natural, then, for us to look at 11 days of togetherness–visiting our favorite cities and meeting people doing good work–and assume we’d help in whatever way we could.

For you see, we’re also incredible meddlers.

And then, there are our children: pastor’s kids sussing out ownership of their faith but finding themselves at weird places in their spiritual journey. My oldest loves Jesus, tolerates people, and wants to see the end to injustice but he doesn’t want to be a pastor so he doesn’t think there are any options for him.

On this road trip, we wanted to disarm the mysticism of ministry.

Since not everyone is called to forge the way but we’re all called to walk in the Way of Jesus, we hoped that introducing him and his siblings to a variety of average people doing amazing things would quiet his anxieties. We also wanted to cultivate an attitude of generosity since, as a moving ministry family we might be tempted to just take–take the well wishes, take the hugs goodbye, take the roadtrip care packages of oreos and capri suns, take the gift cards for Starbucks and books for the road from Amazon.

And, just like Jesus who loved people all along the way, especially those walking in the margins, we needed to teach them that we care for people as we go because compassion needs no appointment and love flourishes best when it’s among the wild flowers.

So we sat down to plan our 11-day road trip.

Eleven days. Eight Cities. Six Love Bombs.

Today, we give the first one: art supplies for an inner city church plant.

Thursday, we’ll give face towelettes and sanitary products to a church cleaning up and making over the homeless on Valentine’s Day.

Friday, we’ll give office supplies to a support group teaching non-violence in Rochester, NY, where homicides are at an all time high.

We’ll surprise a foster mom in Illinois with a love bomb of Mother’s Day epicness.

We’ll make our way to New Orleans during Mardi Gras and give journals and pens, socks and toothbrushes, to a grassroots, minority-led organization that restores dignity to women in the margins: women struggling with addiction and women who are HIV positive.

And finally, we’ll make our way to Texas to see my family and then to Phoenix, to bless another foster Mama.

This is the plan and, while I’m so proud of my family for our adventure in generosity, I’m struggling with feeling inadequate.

For weeks, I’ve been researching these lovely shalom seekers and for weeks I’ve familiarized myself with the pain of their community. But I’m struggling because it doesn’t feel like enough. My family showing up with a box of donations does not feel like enough.

It feels small and insignificant and too many times I’ve prayed, “Jesus, I want to do more for them, give more to them. But I’m just a stay-at-home mama with big dreams for whole cities. What can my value-size pack of toothbrushes from BJ Wholesale really do? How can it make a difference?”

I think this is the paralyzing trap of scarcity we all fall into. When we look at the giant, foreboding machine of injustice, we feel small.

We feel like that hour mentoring a youth doesn’t really change his unstable home life. We wonder if the box of clothes given to the crisis pregnancy center matters. We think, “Surely there’s more I can do than talk to a homeless man about his needs while you hand him a cold bottle of water on a hot summer’s day. Surely!”

While there are so many big, annoying visionary wave-makers who start shoe companies and build community gardens, there are more of us: mamas in the middle, singles in the center, women with big hearts and average resources.

We’re tempted to feel small, so we think small. We scarcely think of the needy because we feel impotent to help. We buy into the lie that big problems require big solutions.

But maybe, big problems just need big faithfulness. Maybe that foreboding machine of injustice in our cities, in our county, in our world, needs to meet the foreboding image of a woman harnessing whatever resource she has, loading it up in her slingshot and hurling it right into its spinning cogs.

I wonder if, when I feel like our love bombs are not enough, I can take a note from the boy with bread and fish.

When Jesus looked out and saw the 5,000 people following him to the other side of the sea, desperate for wholeness, confident that he had their healing in his hands, he turned to his disciples and asked the logical question: where shall we buy food for them to eat?

Jesus appealed to their natural thinking, the way problems have always been solved. But he also knew he was going to solve their big problems with smallness so he waited and watched as the disciples figured out the cost and then blanched at the enormity of it all. “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them.”

Crisis. Hunger. Unrest. Inequality. All pressed in on them–the brokenness of this world put on display in a crowd of people in need of bread and The Bread.

Until one disciple had eyes to see a small boy and his small offering. Until one disciple married this great need with his knowledge of the greatness of Jesus’ love.

“There is a lad here who has five loaves and two small fish.”

This is how I feel today, hours away from giving a small love bomb, wishing I could outfit this children’s ministry with curriculum and prizes and trainings for the workers. I only have five notepads, several reams of construction paper, pretty pencils, and a box of crayons.

But I believe Jesus will multiply that small love bomb and the five others to follow it, just as he did when he sat the people down and prayed over the offering of a little boy’s lunch. As he distributed the small offering it multiplied into a greater blessing wherein every hungry person was satisfied and there was food left over for days.

This is a more love-spun solution, a bigger stone to lodge into the cogs of brokenness in the world, and it is the way I want to approach our #FromBostonToLA roadttrip and our journey to love on the way.

I may have big dreams and a small offering, but I follow a remarkably resourceful God.

I just need to remember that God performs big miracles with small hands and that, when He’s finished, we will all be satisfied and there will be love overflowing.

Osheta Moore
Osheta Moore is an Anabaptist-y, stay-at-home mom right in the thick of moving her family from Boston to Los Angeles . She's passionate about racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and community development in the urban core. At the top of her bucket list is dance in a flash mob—all the better if it's to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or Pharrell's "Happy." Catch up with Osheta on her blog, Shalom in the City.
Osheta Moore
Osheta Moore

Latest posts by Osheta Moore (see all)

Osheta Moore