Sunday – July 2, 2023
Word On Worship – Sunday – July 2, 2023
Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.
When I began as a pastor 24 years ago, I was extremely unsure about whether I could do the job. I didn’t know whether I could come up with new sermons week after week without running dry. I wasn’t sure about whether I could adequately shepherd God’s flock or fulfill the other demands of the position. So, I told the Lord, “I’ll try it for a while and see where I’m at.” Although many weeks I still feel so overwhelmed with inadequacy that I think about quitting, by God’s grace alone, I’m still serving as a pastor.
No text in the New Testament has helped me do what I do as much as the story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000. Aside from the resurrection of our Lord, the feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle found in all four of the Gospels. It’s not just a literal miracle witnessed by thousands of people. It’s also a parable with many lessons about the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ to meet the vast needs of the world through His inadequate disciples. Although they were completely inadequate to meet the needs of this hungry crowd, they gave the little that they had to the Lord, who blessed it and multiplied it so that they could distribute it to the people. That’s been my experience for nearly a quarter of century.
The lesson I have learned through this is that Jesus commands us to do more than we are (humanly) able, because He is the One who enables us to do what He commands. The disciples are inclined to shirk their responsibility to feed these folks because the task is “impossible.” Jesus does not let them off the hook, but rather lays the responsibility for feeding the 5,000 at their feet. What the disciples are not able to do on their own, they accomplish by the power of Jesus Christ. And not only are they able to feed this crowd so that all are filled, they even end up with a surplus.
God ministers through our weakness. He does not select “strong” people so that He can use their strengths; He chooses weak people so that He can demonstrate His power through their weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18–2:5). He gives us tasks which we do not have the strength to do ourselves, because He gives us His strength to carry them out. We are to be about this task, in whatever ways God puts before us. Let us see the magnitude of the mission as the occasion for faith, obedience, and prayers, and not as an excuse for apathy and idleness.