Do you have what it takes?
It is easy for me to feel overwhelmed with insufficiency. As I look at those around me, the circumstances that I feel insufficient for, the goals that seem insurmountable, I can become stymied at what little I have to offer. It doesn’t take me long to figure out that I am NOT ENOUGH. The “needs” outweigh my resources and abilities.
But that is not the final qualification about me. I am learning a valuable lesson-that it isn’t up to me!
Are you feeling depleted?
Amazingly, feeling depleted is not just a contemporary issue faced by many of us today. It happened to Jesus and His disciples as well. After they had a heavy season of ministry meeting the needs of others, word came of John the Baptist, their fellow servant of the Gospel, being beheaded. The emotional blow on top of their physical fatigue threatened to overwhelm them. So Jesus took swift action in Mark 6:31 when He told the disciples,
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Jesus recognized that people have limitations and that they need to care for themselves at times. The needs before us are inexhaustible while we are NOT.
What has you feeling weary? Which “need” in life seems more than you can handle?
The list is endless of what requires more than we have to give. It is only a matter of time before we realize we are incapable of what is needed. Then what?
What happened to the disciples when they were depleted?
The passage in Matthew 14:13-21 ESV details what happened to Jesus and the disciples as they pulled away to gain some rest. Crowds followed them NEEDING even more! Their opportunity to replenish themselves was lost even as the demands grew before them.
What I love about this story is how Jesus responded at seeing the crowds needing MORE. He had compassion on them! So more healing and teaching took place that day even though Jesus and the disciples were depleted.
As evening began to draw closer, the disciples recognized another need that would quickly surface- the need for food. The large crowds were in a remote area with no source of nourishment nearby. Their instinct was to send them away to get food from the closest towns but also, I would imagine, to get them off their “to-do” list. The disciples had to be tired of the responsibility of it all.
People are needy creatures. Sometimes we just want to clock out and be done with it!
But that is not what Jesus had in mind…
Why would Jesus expect more from His disciples?
Christ would not agree with the disciples’ suggestion of sending the people away. He flatly told THEM to feed the crowd, which numbered into the thousands!
If ever the disciples felt insufficient, it was now!
Why would Jesus say something so ridiculous? It was one thing to have food enough for themselves but for that many more people, that was impossible! Which begs the question of why would Jesus ask His exhausted disciples to do what was clearly not possible?
I love His words to them after they replied about the little food they had- 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. (Matt.14:18)
“Bring them here to me.”
Jesus directed the people to sit down in groups, then He gave thanks for what they had even though it was clearly insufficient. He gave the disciples the food who served it to the people. A miracle was performed that day as there was so much food multiplied that 12 basketfuls were left over!
It says in verse 20 that they all ate and were satisfied…Wow!
It isn’t lost on me that ALL ate and were satisfied. Jesus met the disciples need for nourishment even as they met the crowd’s need! In their insufficiency, they continued to give of themselves whereby their own needs were met.
What Took Place That Day?
Jesus never expected the disciples to provide what they didn’t have. Their insufficiency was irrelevant, not even a part of the equation that day.
What did matter was what they did with the little that they had, their insufficiency. They brought it to Jesus and He did the rest. It was up to Him to multiply the supply in order to meet the need.
His expectation of them was not in their ability or resources but in their dependence on Him. He wanted to be their knee-jerk reaction to “need”, whether their need or for meeting the needs of others. Jesus gave to the disciples and the disciples gave to the people.