Has Jesus said this to you lately? Maybe not those exact words, but something like, “Here’s what I want you to do…”
My reading in Mark this morning was the loaves and fishes story in chapter 6, and it made me squirm a bit. This week, the Spirit has been probing my thinking, shining a light in some corners that need to be cleaned out and renovated. Yeah, He made this passage pretty personal today.
It had been a long day. Jesus had news of his cousin John’s death at the hands of Herod. A scandalous story. When he tried to take some personal time, the crowds followed him. Wouldn’t let him alone. He saw their need, and his compassion could not turn them away. He spent the entire day teaching them.
Everyone’s stomachs eventually started rumbling. The disciples looked around, and the facts of the situation were daunting. They were miles from a town. Thousands of people were hungry. No food trucks waited in the parking lot.
It’s time to send everyone home.
But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
Put yourself there as one of the disciples. Jesus has just told you to do the impossible. I’d be speechless. What do you say to instructions like that, instructions to do something that is so clearly impossible? My default setting is to look at all the reasons why not.
The disciples weren’t speechless; they voiced their bewilderment.
“How much bread do you have?” asked Jesus. “Go and find out.”
Ah. Get yourself in gear. Take inventory. Make the assessment: What CAN I do? When Jesus presents us with a challenge, aren’t we too often focused on making a long list of reasons why we CAN’T do anything and why this is surely impossible?
Gather what you do have. Then report back to Jesus and follow his next instructions.
And see what he does with what you do have.
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. (Mark 6:41 NLT)