The feeding of the 5000 is a story we are all familiar with. But the story before that story is what caught my attention this time.
Jesus had just sent the disciples out and they were busy doing things in His name.
Mark 6:30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”
I can’t even imagine how exhausted they were: physically – they had been traveling from town to town, spiritually – they had been teaching & healing people and even emotionally – after all, they had just heard of the death of John the Baptist.
Just when the disciples thought they were getting away to rest, the crowds found them. The Bible says that “…Jesus had compassion on them…” (vs 34). So, He starts teaching the people.
I’m pretty sure the disciples were wishing that Jesus had stuck to the original plan. Remember, it was Jesus who had compassion on the people…it doesn’t say anything about the disciples feeling that way :-). Well, at least at this point, they weren’t really having to do anything. Or so they thought.
It was getting late and time for dinner…then, Jesus says the unthinkable to the disciples – “You feed them”.
Knowing how I am, I would have been beside myself at this point. Why would Jesus ask this of me? I had just finished doing all these things for Him and now He wants me to do one more thing? One more really big thing that is completely beyond my ability?!
The disciples oblige Him, and a miracle happens. A miracle big enough that all 4 gospel writers included it in their accounts – the crowd is fed from the lunch of young boy, multiplied by the prayer of Jesus and given through the hands of weary disciples.
I feel like I live in a perpetual state of being busy, tired and completely maxed out (I know I’m not the only one)…but then an opportunity to serve again will appear in a way that I know has to be God.
The person on the plane next to me, that friend needing a favor at an inopportune time, the co-worker who wants to talk when I am completely slammed…
Now, I see how I had my own “You feed them” moments.
Rest is a necessity and God wants that for us. There are also ordained circumstances…when we sense God wanting to do something beyond what the situation appears to offer. If I could just open myself up when I feel like I have nothing to give, God might just blow me away with what He can give through me – a very empty vessel.
“And they all ate and were satisfied.” (vs 42) – not just the crowds, the disciples too.