Have you ever been challenged by the Lord to do something that you knew would stretch you? How about times when you really had to lean into Jesus for strength and wisdom because you were outside of your pay grade?
These kinds of situations happen to me often. Ever since I was young I have found myself way out of my depth. Youth pastoring at 18 years old. Married at 19. Baby at 20. Senior pastoring at 27. I’ve often joked with Denise that I’d probably end up having my mid-life crisis…early!
In Mark chapter 6 in the New Testament of the Bible, we discover the disciples of Jesus in over their heads. In the first half of this chapter Jesus sent 12 of them out to ministry in the villages. This was one of the first times they were without a leash. This is exciting and scary at the same time. Verse 12 tells us that they had pretty good success: they preached and people repented, demons were driven out and sick people were healed. Not a bad start.
Then Jesus kicked it up a notch (cause that’s what Jesus does).
In Mark 6:30-44 is the familiar story of the Feeding of the 5000. Most commentators agree that the crowd was actually more like 11,000-13,000 people due to the inclusion of women and children. Quite a crowd…and all hungry. The text tells us that they were in a remote area listening to Jesus’ teaching and it was getting late…too late to all go home. They were hungry and there was simply no place to grab a bite. It’s not like they could all hit a nearby Taco Bell for Fourth Meal!
The disciples encouraged Jesus to send the people away to nearby villages to get food.
His answer was no.
Then he dropped it like it was hot: “You give them something to eat.”
You do it. Go ahead. Make it happen.
Excuses and questions began to fly. How? Where? What? Hello? Excuse Me? Jesus, are you crazy?
The Messiah asked them to give of what they had. Together they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. Not a lot…and yet, interestingly, enough. Because when Jesus blesses what we give him, he makes it enough.
Throughout the Book of Mark I have been noticing passage after passage that deals with issues of stewardship, giving and generosity. This is yet another. Jesus wants us to give what we have, even though it is little, and then allow him to bless it, break it and disperse it for his Kingdom use. Perhaps you don’t have much in terms of finances. That’s fine, but be generous with what you do have and watch Jesus do what only he can do: bless and multiply it!
Like the disciples, it’s good when we get into situations where we are over our head and needing to trust the Lord rather than our own understanding. It’s in times like these when we are called upon by the Lord to “Give them something to eat.” What will you do? Will you make excuses about what you don’t have or will you be obedient to give what you do have?
Together, I believe, we will discover the miracle of multiplication!