Lord, Your provision for us exceeds our imagination.
Read LUKE 9:10–17
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
New International Version (NIV)
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“’Tis not the gifts we offer, / that help the world today, / but Jesus’ blessing on them, / that sends them on their way” (Julia H. Johnston, 1849–1919).
The disciples have just ﬁnished their mission and are back working with Jesus. Regretfully, their recent successes may have gone to their heads. They appear frustrated with Jesus. He’s been teaching for too long, they think. He hasn’t thought this through. How are all these people going to get home now? What are they going to do about food? Feeling stressed, they start issuing instructions to Jesus: “Send the crowd away,” they demand (12).
After all the healing and preaching they have done, the disciples appear to think they know better than their Master. “This type of thing didn’t happen when we were in charge,” we can imagine them thinking. How easy it is to become overconﬁdent and to forget to listen to Christ when we have gained experience in Christian work. We can often rush on ahead with our own ways of doing things. Most of our ideas will seem perfectly reasonable, just like the disciples’ suggestion that Jesus should dismiss the crowd before it gets too late. Yet by not praying for guidance before we charge ahead, we can miss out on experiencing all Christ can do in and through us.
Jesus reminds the disciples of their need of him through this situation. They are facing a problem they cannot solve themselves. There are ﬁve thousand men with women and children to feed, and they lack the resources. They are forced to rely on Jesus. Working with him and following his guidance turn a looming disaster into an amazing miracle. They do not just get through by the skin of their teeth but end up actually holding twelve baskets of food left over after everyone has eaten. What an exciting picture: if we work with Christ rather than running ahead alone, we can achieve immeasurably more than we can imagine!
Do you need to remember not to run ahead with ideas without praying ﬁrst? Spend time seeking God’s guidance over any of your plans that have received little prayer.
Lord, help me to remember that I can do nothing without Your assistance and that You know how to tackle any problem.