It is a common thing to feel a little intimidated when seeking to do the work of God. After all, Jesus said that He would be with us until always so being with Him on mission should naturally entice a sense of awe and intimidation. I think that it is the pattern of Jesus to send us into an intimidating situation in order to do His work. As I follow Jesus through the scriptures, I notice that He leads His disciples to places they never thought they would go. He leads them to the table with tax collectors, they watch Him touch people who would automatically make Him unclean and set apart from the rest of the people of Israel, He leads them to an unclean land where the person encountered is even unclean for them. Jesus leads His disciples into the thick of a storm, into the wilderness with barely enough food to feed them, much less 5000 men plus their families. Just read the Bible, Jesus leads His followers to places they never planned on going, and shows them things they never thought they would see.
I love the story in Matthew 14 where Jesus has just heard of His cousin John the Baptist’s death so He goes out to a secluded place. When He gets off the boat there is a massive crowd waiting to be healed and taught. Even though He is in a state of wanting to be along, He has compassion on these people and heals and teaches them all day. Then comes the moment when it is getting late and His disciples let him know that He needs to send the people away so they can go get something to eat. It is far away from anything so after dark it is not safe to travel. They need to get going if they are going to be able to go get some food. Jesus’ response is awesome. “No need – you feed them.” They barely had enough food to feed themselves, much less this massive group of people!
Have you ever felt this way? You see this multitude of people in need all around you, but you barely have enough to take care of yourself, much less to take care of them. If you are like me, this happens all of the time. I look around and see a great need around me but feel helpless. I have nothing to offer, but I want so desperately to do so. Well today I tell you what Christ told me this morning, “you feed them.”
This is where most people say something like, “Jesus isn’t asking you to give material things, but give them His word.” or, “Give them what you can and pray to the Lord to give the rest.” I can live with that to a degree. Sure, give them God’s word, by all means. I even say that you should give them what you can, but maybe you can give them all you have, and afterwords expect that the Lord will provide for you. When they told Jesus all they had, was five loves of bread and two fish, immediately He took them, blessed them, and began to distribute them to all around. I bet this wasn’t easy to watch as one of the people who this food was meant for in the first place. Often times I think of others needing to eat because my own hunger reminds me it is time to do so.
I do not want to sound like I am being harsh or demanding that you give all of your food away, even though, you might consider asking the Lord what He wants you to do. I hope to do nothing more than encourage you as the Lord has done me this morning. Here are a few things that I believe are important to remember.
1) Recognize that it was the Lord who lead you to where you are in the first place, and never forget that following Jesus is going to take you to places that you never planned to go. Often times it will lead you to a place where you will have no idea how you are going to achieve His plan for you. It might also take you to a secluded place with a bunch of people in need.
2) Recognize that the reason He has led you there is to be the blessing. Jesus has taken you there, not only, to recognize the need, but to be the blessing for the need. Jesus said “Good, you recognized the need of these people, now do something about it.”
3)Recognize that even though you think you have little, Jesus will do miraculous things if you let Him. He led you there, He opened your eyes, and He wants to show you some crazy things through your obedience. First you have to sacrifice what little you have, but after it is all said and done, you will not only realize the miracle that the Lord did, but see that you are also well fed and in Christ able to continue on after the meal.