Feeding the Five Thousand
I remember when Becky and I first moved to Pittsburgh two and a half years ago with the intention of starting a church. We came without much of anything. We had zero experience starting churches, we pretty much had zero money in our church planting budget outside of my regular salary that my family needed to live on, and perhaps most significantly we literally knew zero people in the community.
So you can imagine how often we wondered whether we should be questioning our sanity because of our desire to start a church. From a human perspective, it seemed like a crazy idea. And that continued throughout the first year. We started off with a Bible study that had three adults in it, and two of them were my wife and I. To say the least, it was overwhelming.
Maybe you can identify with that if you’re a Christian. Maybe there are situations you’ve encountered as you’ve tried to be involved in God’s mission that have seemed rather overwhelming to you and far beyond your ability to do successfully.
Maybe you’ve encountered someone who’s going through an especially difficult time, and you’ve wondered, “What can I even say to them that would be helpful?” After all, you don’t want to say the wrong thing. Or maybe you’ve had an opportunity to talk to a non-Christian about Jesus, but the thought of even attempting something like that made you very fearful. Again, what if you say the wrong thing? Or what if they ask you a question you don’t know the answer to?
Or maybe the situation that was way beyond your ability to handle involved personally discipling someone. We talk a lot about how each Christian has the responsibility to make disciples who make disciples, but when you finally had an opportunity to do that, it seemed like such an overwhelming thing that you didn’t even know where to start.
Or maybe, you’ve known a Christian brother or sister who has fallen into sin. And you knew God wanted you to say something to them and lovingly call them to repentance, but you just weren’t sure if you had the kind of boldness in you to actually do something like that. It seemed like something far beyond your ability to handle.
Whenever you encounter situations like these, you stand at a crossroads. You have a choice to either trust God or yourself.
As we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in John 6:1-15, we see an important truth: God’s mission can only move forward by God’s power. When Jesus and his disciples faced the impossible situation of feeding 5,000 men with only minimal resources, Jesus came through in a big way by miraculously multiplying the little bit of food they had. And by that, he demonstrated that he’s able to take our little and turn it into a lot.
Even though ministry will be filled with situations far beyond your ability to handle, look to Jesus to come through in a big way.