Today our discussion focused on Mark 6:30-44, “Jesus Feeds Five Thousand,” which reads as followed (Courtesy of BibleGateway.com):
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money[a] to buy food for all these people!”
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!
These fourteen verses paint the picture of a God who provides more than we could ever need. Here we have the disciples of Jesus faced with the task of providing for 5,000+ people (note that it is titled Jesus feeds 5,000, but in verse 44 it says “5,000 men and (emphasis added) their families”).
In the same way you and I would approach the situation, the disciples suggest that people go and find their own food, so they may not go hungry. However, Jesus tells the disciples to feed them (verse 37). Could you imagine if you looked out your front door right now, and you and your family, roommates, or friends, were charged with the task with feeding over 5,000 people (without any notice!)? I would certainly be overwhelmed and nervous that I didn’t have enough food for that many people, let alone the money to feed that many people (I can barely afford to feed one person right now!). How many times in our life are we faced with a task that seems impossible? A task where we feel as if there is no way we could complete it without some divine intervention? I know there are many times in my life that I have been overwhelmed by a situation and have panicked and let it take control of my life.
Is that what Jesus would have us do? Or is there another way for us to approach life and the challenges that it presents to us? Is it possible to be at complete peace while tackling life? I know that in my short time of being a Christian, I have experienced such a peace. In November of 2009, after I gave my life over to the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, I was challenged. My father had a massive heart attack and needed to have quadruple bypass surgery, and at the same time, my aunt who has been struggling with illness for a number of years now, started to really decline in health. I had a tough decision to make: do I let the devil make me doubt my relationship with God, by bringing illness into my family, or do I let that further strengthen my relationship with Christ? Choosing the latter, I found complete peace in my life, and a focus and intent that I had never experienced before in everything I did. Choices became easier for me, time didn’t seem to exist. I became more productive, all because I chose to believe that God has a purpose for everything. What I haven’t mentioned is that during this time, I was in graduate school and had my lab practical’s coming up, as well as, finals week for the eleven classes I was enrolled in. I wasn’t able to go see either of them. I chose to focus on the controllable things in my life, and keep my father and aunt in my prayers, and subsequently my life was filled with a peace, and a knowing that everything would work out.
Have you ever experienced this before? Where you are involved in something and it seems like time flies? You don’t know how you made it through it, but you did? You may not even remember the process or the people involved to get you from point A to point B, but you made it. In the same way, the disciples were able to feed 5,000 people with what seemed like a small amount of food (five loaves of bread and two fish).
We truly do have a God who provides for us. The disciples, while they may not have recognized what was going on at the time, were able to go back to Jesus to “fill up” with more food (insert faith, peace, etc. here) over and over, to provide for others. God’s love never runs out. We can be forever filled up by God if we choose to turn to him. In fact, as one man pointed out this morning, God will provide us MORE than what we need. After the feeding of 5,000 men and their families, there were 12 baskets of leftovers. All over the place we see that God provides more than we need, as long as we seek the answers through Him (see 2 Kings 4:1-7 for another clear example of this).
God doesn’t ask that we have all of the answers to life’s problems, He only asks that we look at our lives and recognize the tools we have to work with. Sometimes the answers to our problems are material objects, such as bread and fish. Sometimes it will be a skill that we have developed over the years. And still, at other times, it will be a quality of our character that helps us make it through. Whatever it is, we need to recognize what we have in our life. Even if it doesn’t seem clear as to how the problem will be solved, God only asks that we take one step at a time. And after we take that one step we are in a completely different place. God is always with us, that will never change, but our proximity to God is ever changing. With each action we take, we either grow closer to or further away from God.
How is God working in your life today? In what ways has He helped you make it through a problem or challenge that seemed impossible at the outset? We truly do have a God who provides more than enough!