Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends.”
The Voice Bible
“Speak thou to Him for He heareth;
And spirit with spirit will meet!
Nearer is He than breathing,
Nearer than hands and feet.”
Maltbie D. Babcock
Today’s Study Text:
“But Jesus said unto them, ‘They need not depart; give ye them to eat.’ And they say unto Him, ‘We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.’ He said, ‘Bring them hither to Me.’ And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake.”
“In The Hands of Jesus – More Than Enough”
Just A Housewife
“I packed five cakes of bread and two small fishes,
Sent him off, my youngest lad,
To take his father’s dinner to the field.
Came back alone he did, all google—eyed.
My fresh-baked bread that varmint gave away to
Some young traveling preacher out of Galilee.
It fed five thousand people. What a tale!
It can’t be true…but if it is…
What kind of dough did these hands
knead this morning?”
Has there been a time in my life when I felt there was never enough?
What difference did Jesus make when everyone felt there wasn’t enough food to feed everyone?
“God begins where we are and uses what we have. Give what you have to Jesus. Jesus took the simple lunch, blessed it, and shared it. The miracle of multiplication was in His hands.”
Warren W. Wiersbe
“Little is much when God is in it.
Labor not for wealth and fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.”
Kittie J. Suffield
I’d like you, for a few minutes, to set aside the busy tasks of today along with the burdens that they bring and instead, place yourself in the sandals of a young lad living in the Judean countryside during the time of Jesus.
The Scripture does not tell us exactly how this little boy got caught up with a crowd as large as the one that followed Jesus into a “desolate” area. One writer surmised that he may have been taking food to his father who was at work in a field. We just don’t know. But somehow, this little boy found himself front and center in a quest for enough food to feed around 15,000 people.
Let’s get the situation straight in our minds. And we can do this if we look at all four gospels, not just the record left by Matthew. Of all the miracles recorded in the Bible, the “Feeding of the 5,000,” as it is referred to, is the only miracle which is contained in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Here’s where we find the report of this miracle: Matthew 14: 13-21, Mark 6: 35-44, Luke 9: 12-17, and John 6: 4-13. It is the beloved disciple John, whose words I want to share because they give us an even more expanded picture of what was occurring before the feeding of so many people took place. Here’s how John tells the story:
“Then Jesus went up into the hills and sat down with His disciples around Him. (It was nearly time for the annual Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for Him. Turning to Philip, He asked,‘Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?’ He was testing Philip, for He, Himself, already knew what He was going to do. Philip replied, ‘It would take a small fortune (8 months wages or in Greek 200 denarii), to feed them.’ Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. ‘There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?’ ‘Tell everyone to sit down,’ Jesus ordered. So all of them – the men alone numbered five thousand – sat down on the grassy slopes” (John 6: 3-10, New Living Translation).
As the Bible makes clear, the disciples had surveyed the situation quite well before even going to Jesus for help. What they found was a meager lunch in the possession of a young child. The extremely limited supply of five barley loaves and two fish would seem to be so small that bringing up the existence of this scanty bit of food was ridiculous. Especially if you had the attitude going into this “feeding challenge” that there was simply not enough food, not enough money and not enough time before nightfall to go get enough food and bring it back so it could be distributed among 15,000 people. This is why the more practical suggestion, put forth by the disciples when they came to Jesus was: “Just send them all home.”
In our day and age, we might think that reality had hit practicality. The disciples thinking wasn’t that far off base. The resources were not there. I know I have found myself saying these very words more than once. In fact, remembering a talk I gave many years ago, I’ll never forget a line I used when speaking about the funding challenges a very diverse group of non-profit organizations were having in their search for financial stability. As I so pointedly told my audience, “There are only a limited number of pieces of pie in the pan – so you need to make certain you do the best you can to end up with pie on your plate.” It sounded good at the time. And the techniques that I shared, encouraging other professionals to put their best foot forward, were applauded with great enthusiasm by the conference attendees, most of whom represented what might be called “community charities.” But after finishing my talk on a high note, I’ll never forget an elderly man walking over and saying, “Can I have a minute of your time?” I found out that he headed up a small organization which was religious. He shared with me the fact that they were always operating with a very tight budget. But then with an almost angelic smile his voice got stronger as he said, “But you know Dorothy, we’ve always had enough to meet the needs – and then some. We have never run out of money. So while you may be right about the pie pan, never forget that you have to allow for the unexpected from God’s bakery, too!”
While I’ve forgotten the man’s name, I have never forgotten the lesson he gave me that day in Texas when a young girl gave a much bally-hood speech that had fund raising professionals on the edge of their seats and yet I was the one who flew home to California with the most important lesson of all. My pie pan held only so much but I learned, like Philip, and all the other disciples, that “He, Himself” already knew what He was going to do. While the disciples fretted that there wasn’t enough, Jesus had the situation under control. Problem solved – heaven’s way!
One of my favorite quotes, which I keep taped to a table right next to my writing chair is by Frank Gabelein who encourages us to take, “comfort in the fact that God can never be taken by surprise.” Whether it’s on a grassy slope in the Judean wilderness and there are 15,000 hungry people staring at you, or if it is on April 17, 2013 and you feel that your resources just aren’t enough to meet your needs. As Pastor Charles Spurgeon penned many years ago:
“Say not my soul,
‘From whense can God relieve my care?’
Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.
His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind.
God never is before His time,
And never is behind.”
In the hands of Jesus, 15,000 people found that five barley loaves and two fish were more than enough to meet their needs. And please don’t forget, there was food to spare! They even had to collect the leftovers in baskets!
“They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish.”
New Living Translation
More Than Enough
(Matthew 14: 13-21)
“There was more than enough grief for Jesus:
he had just got the news that his beloved cousin John
had been beheaded by Herod.
There were more than enough people:
5,000 gathered to hear Jesus – probably
closer to 15-20,000, counting women and kids.
There was more than enough need:
The people were hungry;
They had been with Jesus all day.
There was more than enough fear:
‘Jesus, make them go away-
we barely have enough for ourselves.’
But what they did have
was more than enough for Jesus:
who took, who blessed, who broke, who shared
the simple gifts the disciples had –
and it was more than enough for everyone.
When we wonder is it enough? –
what we do for the needy;
what we do about the violence in our world;
what we do about reaching out to young people;
what we do with our simple gifts –
we should remember this story
and think of the promise
that Jesus does not call us to serve in ways
He is unable to equip us.
For He takes, He blesses, He breaks, He shares
our simple gifts with others,
and that will always be
more than enough.”
Thom M. Shuman
Bare Feet and Buttercups
Author: Ruth Burgess
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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