I recently read an article about some problems at PNC Park. In case you’re not aware, this is the home of the Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball Club. The problems have not arisen over baseball but over food. Actually, it’s over the wait-time for food.
Apparently, the lines for concessions are unbearably long. One customer said she waited in line for an hour. Another said he waited an inning and a half for a hot dog. Someone complained about the fact that the lines were impenetrable. People who weren’t in line for food couldn’t get through. This could be an even larger problem than being hungry. A trip to the nearest bathroom could be affected. An usher might walk by with some food, but no one is coming by with a restroom facility.
Working on the Problem
The Pirates say they’re working on the problem. I’m not sure how they’re going to tackle the long lines. They currently have a winning team, and winning teams attract large crowds.
This is nothing new, of course. Jesus had a similar problem. At one point in His ministry, He began drawing large crowds. I suppose He could have invited hot dog vendors to alleviate a situation involving a large number of hungry people, but I’m not sure kosher dogs had been invented as yet. Instead, He fed them Himself.
You may remember that He once fed four thousand men plus women and children (don’t ask me why they didn’t count the women and children). On another occasion, He fed five thousand men (plus…). He did so at each event by multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread. That meal doesn’t sound as exciting as hot dogs, but the miracle of providing so much sustenance for so many people with so few morsels trumps the blandness of the meal.
If I owned the Pirates, I’m pretty sure the first thing I would do would be to pray. If I remember correctly, that’s what Jesus did. Of course, the Pirates already have enough food. They just can’t get it to the proper people quickly enough. The logistics are different, but it’s still a matter of distribution.
Give Each Vendor a Hot Dog
Maybe if they gave each vendor a hot dog or two, they could move through the crowd and break off a piece of dog for every person who wanted one. If it works as well as it did for Jesus, they would return with a cart full of food that could, in turn, be resold. This, unfortunately, would cause a problem for the state of Pennsylvania. They wouldn’t be able to figure the sales tax correctly. Moreover, they would have a health problem with all the sharing of food among the thirty or so thousand patrons of PNC Park.
These were problems which Jesus did not face, of course. The Jerusalem Board of Health had not been convened in first century Judea (although the Romans had a pretty good handle on taxes). I’m just wondering if He passed out mustard packets with the fish.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]