“How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.” (Mark 6:38, NLT)
The disciples didn’t get it. Jesus was the one who suggested that they provide food for the massive crowd — estimated to number at least 5,000! All these people came from villages and settlements — from almost anywhere, uninvited. Yet the Master spent so much time teaching them, although this was meant to be rest time in a quiet place. It was getting late. The place was remote. And now Jesus came up with this ridiculous idea that they should not let the people go away hungry. Just imagine that — a mega task with no resources! Simply impossible! Anyone working out the math will figure out that a huge sum of money will be needed to buy food for this multitude — no less than six months’ of a person’s salary, as estimated by one of them. Jesus would certainly know that they did not carry such funds around. Neither did they cart food with them in their itinerant ministry. There was certainly no way to do any “fund raising” exercise. Obviously an impractical idea!
And now the Master is asking, “How much bread do you have?” And He then gave the specific instruction that they should “Go and find out.”
The search did yield a small find — five loaves and two fish — a mini-meal that belonged to a little boy who was willing to give it up when asked (refer to John 6:8). It turned out that this humble offering, as discovered by the disciples who went around to find out, and dutifully carried out the Master’s instructions — the food was more than adequate to feed the hungry crowd! The result was astonishing. Not only did the crowd get fed, there were leftovers!
This was a lesson of faith for the disciples — faith in action. They were fully cognizant of the practical dimensions. All things considered, it was impossible! But Jesus gave clear instructions that they should “Go and find out.” To go and search diligently would require faith. And to bring that miniscule meal to Jesus — a portion just enough for one little boy — that would certainly require faith.
I am learning from this account that faith requires us to take the necessary action as the Lord has so directed. And it must be anchored on the Person of Jesus Christ. As He has instructed, He will so fulfil in His own way — often beyond what we can ever imagine! To say “I believe” and not take action as instructed by the Lord is not faith at all. In our obedience, we will have that privilege of seeing God at work.
When God wants to demonstrate His power, there is nothing He cannot do! Very often our logical minds and seasoned experience get in the way.
We work it out in our minds and come to the view that it would not be possible. Or we may give mental assent, but take no action. But when God wants to fulfil His purpose, and He tells us what He requires of us, there is need for us to respond humbly — by taking the steps He so directs. That will mean setting aside what we can control. It will also mean that we will be stepping into the realm where we do not fully understand. It will mean full reliance on the Lord — the God of the impossible. My part is go and find out, as He directs.
What action does your faith in Jesus Christ require of you today?
By David LT Yap, Advisory Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 17&18 March 2018)