Welcome To The Light-Washed Path,
This is one of the most retold and beloved stories of the Gospel. It’s full of the character of Jesus and rich with lessons. There are great encouraging insights about WHO, WHAT and HOW God uses people to do great things. As we begin this devotional series lets build on at least one prominent truth from God’s Word:
God always uses people to work through.
Without the prayer or actions of people there is no manifestation of God’s Presence in the Earth. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for us to understand that God works through us; and be willing to present ourselves for His use. Entire elaborate religious institutions have been devised on the theories of just what type of people God uses. And usually by the time they are finished laying out all the parameters God is somewhere outside their boundaries using someone they’ll end up rubbing their beards over. And if God’s choice is far enough outside their standards they may even persecute them.
But the real tragedy is that the vast majority of people disqualify themselves as potential vessels for God’s glory simply because they pay far more attention to the approval of men then of God. Men look for candidates who have something that they think can help God: abilities, great resources, natural attractiveness and education. And because most people see too little of these things in themselves, they are usually closed off to the idea of God using them. But God isn’t looking for help. He’s looking for opportunity. And that brings us to our story of Jesus feeding thousands of people with a young man’s lunch.
The circumstances were dire: a multitude of people numbering five thousand men, not counting women and children, had left their towns to follow Jesus out into the countryside and listen to Him speak. Now Jesus and the disciples were surrounded by thousands of hungry people with no resource to feed them.
This is THE Ministry!
If ever there were a metaphoric picture of the ministry, this is it. The need was laid at the disciples’ feet but the solutions were way beyond their abilities.
Matt. 14:15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.
The disciples were completely unable to meet the need so their answer was naturally, to send the people away to fend for themselves. But Jesus asks Philip where they can buy food to feed the multitude, knowing that the disciples were completely without resources.
John 6:5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
John 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
John 6:7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
Jesus simply wants to draw the disciples into a sense of responsibility for a solution, knowing that only He can solve the problem. The Lord already knows what He Himself will do, but He’s looking for someone to work through. As citizens of the world, we must become engaged in the process of miracle answers. This must happen for God to work through us to enter the situation. Remember, He already knows what He Himself will do! And so once the disciples become engaged in trying to solve the problem our little vessel for God to use can be manifested
John 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, saith unto him,
John 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
It didn’t matter if all he had was a half eaten Burger King Spicy Chicken sandwich and some cold fries, Jesus knew what He Himself was going to do. Now let’s look at our young vessel:
There is a lad here …
This is not a little boy, too young to leave his Mother. He was old enough to be out of the house and at this gathering. Not a fully-grown young man, but a Lad, perhaps a Teen-ager. He’s still growing. Not just starting, but not fully arrived, he’s in the process. He’s not where he use to be, but he’s not yet where he will be. Like David when he slew Goliath, he still has a ways to go but at this very moment he has what God needs to work through. And this young lad is us. We are on our way, in the process of growth. We likely wouldn’t credit ourselves with being ready to be used by God in miracle provisions. And were probably as unaware of what He Himself will do as the lad was. But that doesn’t mean that the Lord doesn’t have a plan to do some great things all around us. And no one is aware of it because it’s so beyond the ministry we will allow ourselves to imagine.
Out of this whole cast of characters, the disciples, the lad and the hungry mass of people; none of them is adequate to meet the need. So why do we consistently withhold ourselves from God’s Hand until we have reach a level of adequacy? It’s Jesus Himself Who makes every single one of us potential donors for God’s miracle provision to flow through. This lad was largely qualified by his circumstances. Heroes are cornered, not made. And the same is true for you and I. There is a whole lot more will of God all around us waiting for a sponsor to make his or her meager resources available to the Hand of God.
2 Cor. 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency isof God;
Stay On The Path