You Give Them Something To Eat
The New Testament records numerous miracles Jesus has performed during His earthly ministry. The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand is the only miracle that is recorded in all the four Gospels – in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-14.
It is interesting to read and study how the four Gospels record this one same miracle with a few details and emphases found in one Gospel that are not in another. Together, they give me a richer and fuller picture of what transpire before and during this beautiful miracle our Lord Jesus has performed.
After Jesus has taught and ministered to the large crowd, the disciples suggest to Him that the people be sent away so that they can go to the nearby villages to buy food for themselves. For they are in a remote place.
In Mark 15:16 NASB, Jesus responds to the disciples, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
To the disciples, sending the crowd away to settle their own meals seems like the best thing to do. To Jesus, I think that is an opportune moment for His disciples to learn something valuable.
Sometimes we complain about how a colleague is so difficult to work with and we hope that he gets transferred to another department. God says, “You give him something to eat.”
You may be getting increasingly impatient with a family member and is hoping she will soon change her ways. God says, “You give her something to eat.”
We may have been talking among ourselves about the unbecoming behaviors of some people in church. God says, “You give them something to eat.”
Perhaps we are thinking that the responsibility of evangelism to friends and community and discipleship of believers is not for us. God says, “You give them something to eat.”
God wants us to know that for what we hope to see changed in other people, we have a part to play. God wants to bring transformation and blessing to the people around you. And He wants to do it through you. He wants you to give them something to eat. Are you a willing and available vessel for Him?
When they hear Jesus telling them to feed the crowd, the disciples reply in Mark 6:37 (NLT), “With what?…We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
Maybe you and I share the disciples’ sentiments. Maybe we are thinking, “Lord, it is so hard! I don’t know how to help others. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to share Your Word with others.”
Our concerns with the challenges and obstacles may be real and valid. But it is so important to understand and believe that when God tells us to do something, He will equip us with the resources when we do what He says. God is our loving Father. He will not tell us to do something and not give us the resources to do it.
Jesus says to His disciples in Mark 6:38 (NLT), “How much bread do you have?…Go and find out.” We read in John 6:9 (NASB) that one of the disciples replies, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish…” By the power of God, with these mere five loaves and two fish, Jesus miraculously more than feeds the five thousand men and their families who are there.
“How much bread do you have? Go and find out.” I think there is a principle we can apply from here. When we do not know how to minister to others, not confident to evangelize or disciple, go to the Body of Christ to seek counsel and input. God has placed us in a church family to grow personally, to help one another to grow, so that together, we grow His Kingdom. When we feel like we lack resources, methods and strength to do what God calls us to do, go and find out from the godly brothers and sisters in our midst what advice and support they can offer us. Go and find out God says through His Word and Holy Spirit. Then, commit what you are going to do to God, and see how He multiplies through you.
Let us build God’s church. Do all we can personally to minister to others’ needs, evangelize, lead others to receive Christ and disciple believers to grow. When we are not sure how to, go to mature and godly believers in our church and work with one another unitedly to advance God’s Kingdom. I think this is how God is going to use our church to feed the five thousand around us, and beyond.
Let us pray together.
“Heavenly Father, I obey what You are teaching me today. You have placed the people around me who need help, who need changes in their lives, who need You in their lives, because You want to use me to draw them to Your love and salvation. Yes, Lord, no more shirking and complaining from me, but I shall give these people Your love and the Good News. Thank You, Father, that You provide me with resources and support through our church family at River. I commit to work with all the brothers and sisters as one united Body of Christ to bring the Good News of Your salvation to the ends of the earth. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”