Leviticus 8-10 Mark 6:30-56
Mark 6:30-56 …”You give them something to eat.” They said to Him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
Here Jesus gives his disciples a command to feed a group of people. Admittedly this wasn’t just any group. This was no brunch for the local women’s club. This was five thousand people.
The three and one half years that the disciples spent with Jesus was an obstacle course He was putting them through on how to evangelize the world. Knowing that He would not always be with them, he was preparing them for their future. Surely, the disciples had their moments when returning to their previous occupations seemed a pleasant alternative. To their credit, they stayed with the course in spite of its difficulty.
This was a stiff test. The response of the disciples must be seen through the eyes of experience and practicality. How does one feed five thousand people without breaking the bank?
Another question was asked of these perplexed men. “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” That’s when they learned they had only five loaves and two fish. Another ‘Gospel writer recorded the disciples follow up question. “What are these among so many?”
Again, these dedicated followers got past their questions and moved forward to accomplish all that Jesus instructed them to do. When the feeding was over, they picked up twelve baskets-full of broken pieces of bread.
Why did Jesus throw such a extraordinary problem at the disciples? A little bread and a few fish are no match for such a hungry crowd. Perhaps the answer lies in the clear fact that life’s challenges don’t come to us in compact, pocket sized easy-to-handle packages.
Some years ago, I became acquainted with a 19th century missionary named James Hudson Taylor. His call and life in missions is chronicled in a book entitled, “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”. Though fragile in health he submitted himself to a call to bring the Gospel to China. Hudson Taylor believed that “God’s work done in God’s way would never want for God’s supply.” He founded the China Inland Mission. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over eight hundred missionaries to the country who began one hundred twenty-five schools resulting in eighteen thousand Christian conversions. More than three hundred stations of work with more than five hundred local helpers were established in all eighteen provinces. Hudson Taylor spent fifty-one years in China. Taylor’s life demonstrates to me what one man can do to change the face of a highly populated country like China.
With the disciples we might ask, “What is one weak man over against and audience of millions?”
Barnabus risked friendship with the young Apostle Paul. His support gave footing to Paul’s ministry and thus particiption in the establishment of churchs all over Asia Minor. One man’s friendship with Paul in the first century reaches all the way to your heart and mine.
As I ruminate on this Gospel story, I begin to get the feeling that what we might have in our hand, or in our bank accounts, or in our education is not nearly as important as what we have in our hearts.
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13