Recently I heard an exhortation to raise donation for global mission work. The speaker used the story of Jesus feeding 5000 people. The point of the story was even though the disciples kept making excuses (its dark already, not our concern, too many people, we only have this much, etc.), in the end Jesus still told them to go and feed the people. So, imitating the story, even though we might have 1001 reasons not to give, in the end Jesus told us to ‘go and feed the people’, whatever it means. Although, given the context, it means that we are urged to trust him and give as much as we could to fulfill his commandment.
Actually the exhortation is pretty much OK, but my skeptical-critical mind insisted that if you wanted to make that kind of analogy, then you need to pursue it consistently. What I mean is if you wanted to analogize the attendants as the disciples, then actually the biblical story would tell us that in the end its not the disciples who provide the food for the people. Its Jesus who broke the five loaves and two fishes such that they would be enough to feed the whole people. Even the most that we could raise actually only means five loaves and two fishes.
Or, to put it in other way, if in the end we think it was us who managed to raise enough money by ourselves, putting it back to the original story means that somehow the disciples managed to find enough food to feed the whole people. Which will somehow defeat the purpose of the story itself, i.e., that Jesus performed a miracle despite of our incompetencies and inadequacies.
And thats why I felt uneasy whenever I listened to this kind of inconsistent analogy. And perhaps at the same time hating my own mind for pursuing it consistently.
(Raising money is always a sensitive issue and certainly not an enviable task, I think I know the difficulties, so I could appreciate the effort, so, sorry for being such a jerk. I must be having some kind of irony deficiency now.)