“Tell Pharoah, ‘Let my people go.’”
“Gideon, narrow it down to 300 men.”
“Get out of the boat.”
It seems that when God asks something of His people, it is rarely something they could reasonably expect to do with the resources that they have comfortably at hand. Does that mean, then, that God doesn’t really expect us to do what He asks? Or does it mean that we need to learn to act in faith, trusting the resources that He has in His hand?
Jesus said that if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you can tell the mountain to move into the sea and it will go. Because we do have that kind of faith, the Lord is putting a demand on His people to use it! While He was training the disciples, Jesus gave us a beautiful example - a living lesson - regarding what it looks like to exercise that little faith...AND the kind of results we can expect when we do!
“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” - Matthew 14:14-15
The disciples were right. They saw a disaster coming and they were concerned.
Picture it: Five thousand men -not including women and children. Way out in the country. No food, no stores. It was getting dark and it was time to send them on their way.
And then...verse 16.
”But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
Jesus wasn’t done preaching. They didn’t need to go, He said. And then He gave the disciples a command that shocked them.
YOU give them something to eat.
What was Jesus thinking?! He knew they didn’t have a tractor-trailer full of food with them there! The disciples, just like us now, didn’t have the resources to do what the Lord asked. And yet, He asked it with full expectation that they would obey. Why? How could he do that?
He knew they had something BETTER than a whole supermarket full of food. They had HIS COMMAND and FAITH IN HIM. He knew the resources HE had available, ready to distribute through them in the moment that they obeyed what He had commanded.
But they couldn’t get their natural minds wrapped around it. So they argued with Jesus, pointing out that all they could get their hands on was five loaves and two fish. They looked at what they had, not at what He said. They should have believed that He would give them the power to do what He told them to do. In that moment, He could have just done it Himself. But He didn’t. He showed them - and us - how to obey when we don’t understand. He held their hand a bit. Walked them through the process. And look what happened:
“And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. - Matthew 14: 18-21
Jesus prayed. He broke the bread. But He didn’t multiply it in that instant. The five loaves and two fish got multiplied as the disciples handed them out. It was broken, distributed, and broken and distributed some more. Over and over until all were fed and then some. The disciples, as they did what Jesus said to do, became participants in an incredible miracle.
God wants you to participate in incredible miracles too.
Don’t look at what you have or don’t have. Look to Him and listen to what He tells you to do.
And when you know His heart and hear what He wants, then you will see Him be glorified by what you do in His name.