Give Him What You Have
GIVE HIM WHAT YOU HAVE
I would like for you to look at verse 16 again.
- Here in this verse Jesus asks His disciples to do that which seemed impossible to them.
- Jesus has been teaching a crowd that verse 21 says numbered “5000 men”…so if you figure in the women and children…you have a crowd that probably exceeds 15,000 people.
- And if you look at verse 15 you find that these people were in a place that was “desolate” and it was late at night…which means that there wasn’t much way to access food for these people.
- And yet, in verse 16 Jesus commands His disciples to “give them something to eat!”
- How do you do that?
- When the Lord gives you a seemingly impossible task…what do you do?
As disciples’ of Christ we have been commissioned by Christ, “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that He has commanded…
- And when you think about the fact that there are over 7 billion people in this world…
- And the majority of those people live in what we call “non-Christian” nations.
- And when you think about the money needed…and the time that is required…and the people it will take…and when you think about all the other obstacles that exist in trying to fulfill our commission…it is pretty easy to feel overwhelmed…
- What do you do when the Lord gives you a seemingly impossible task?
And what about here in Brady…there are a lot of people in this town that are in need of the word of God.
- And there are a lot of people here in Brady who have all kinds of problems in their lives.
- And we know that the Lord wants us to help those people, and to reach out to those people, and try to teach those people, but the task seems so overwhelming.
- There are not enough teachers, not enough busses, not enough hours in the day.
- What do you do when the Lord gives you a seemingly impossible task?
Well, here in this story about the feeding of the 5000 Jesus is going to tell us.
- Let me explain the situation for you.
If you look at the accounts of this story in Mark, Luke, and John the disciples had been sent out by Jesus to preach, and heal, and cast out demons.
- It is what we call the “Limited Commission.”
And so they come back to Jesus to give Him an account of all they have done.
- And they are tired.
- And if you look at the first 12 verses here in Matthew 14, Jesus has just received word that John the Baptizer has died.
So Jesus says, “Let’s go to a lonely place where it is quiet and so you can get some rest.”
- So they take off in a boat to just get away.
- But the people see them and so the people go to where they know the disciples are sailing.
- And when the disciples get near the shore, instead of getting away from the people for a little while, they find this huge crowd.
So what do you do?
- What do you do when you are tired and weary and you want to get away from people and their demands, and you can’t?
- What happens when you set aside some time for you to rest…or to do what you want to do for a change….and the phone rings? Or someone comes and rings your door bell?
- What spills out of you when the crowd keeps pressing in?
Well, look at what Jesus does in this situation. Look at verse 14.
- 14 says that when Jesus went ashore, “He saw a great multitude and He felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
- He didn’t see them with eyes concerned only for Him-self.
- He didn’t say, “I am upset, John has just died…I am tired…don’t bother me…leave me alone.”
- Instead, He saw them with eyes full of compassion and concern.
And one thing that each of us as disciples has to ask ourselves this morning is, when we are in a situation like this…
- When people are demanding our time and energy….
- When people have all of these needs, how do we see them?
- Do we see them as a burden? An inconvenience? A bother?
- I am afraid that much of the time when we are tired and wanting to get away, and someone comes with a need, I am afraid a lot of things come out of us but compassion isn’t one of them.
Jesus felt compassion for them…and so Jesus spends the day with them, compassion pouring out of His soul for them…but notice what His disciples do?
Vs. 15, it is late in the day and the disciples say, “Lord this is a desolate place and the time is already past so send them into the villages that they may buy food for themselves.”
- Isn’t that a common response to peoples needs?
- It is getting late and these people haven’t eaten…there is 15,000 of them…the numbers are overwhelming.
- And when you are overwhelmed with more needs than you can possibly meet, when the numbers overwhelm you, one of the most popular answers to an overwhelming situation is simply say, “Send the people away.”
- “Send them somewhere else.”
- Sending people away has always been a very popular way of dealing with the needs of people.
And it is the same for us today.
- Some spontaneous need shows up on your porch or the phone rings during one of those times when you are wanting to rest, and what do we do?
- “Let me give you the preacher’s phone number.”
- “You will have to talk to one of the elders? “
- “Don’t we have a benevolent committee up at that church?”
- “Isn’t there someplace that we can send these people?”
And don’t misunderstand me.
- I believe the church should have programs structured to meet the needs of people.
- But there is a danger there.
- And the danger is that we depend so much on the organized programs of the church that we use them to actually distance ourselves from people and their needs.
- We pass the problem off without ever getting personally involved.
- And the greater problem is, we don’t communicate compassion.
- We communicate structure.
- We communicate organization.
- But we don’t communicate compassion.
- You see, “Sending people away” is one of the most common responses to human need today.
But there is another response to human need and it isn’t nearly as popular.
- It isn’t as popular because it requires more of us.
Look at verse 16. Look at what Jesus says.
- He says, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
- And in the Greek language the word “you” is emphatic.
Jesus is saying to His disciples, “NO, NO. Don’t send them away. You do something for these people. You meet their needs.”
And you say, “Well that is absurd Jesus.”
- “How are you going to ask 12 men to feed thousands of people?”
Don’t you remember what these disciples have just been doing?
- They have been preaching that people should repent.
- They have been casting out demons…and they have been healing sick people.
- They have just returned from a trip where God has been routinely doing the impossible through them.
- So is Jesus asking such and incredible thing after all?
You see, what Jesus is doing is he is putting them to a test saying, “God has been doing all these impossible things through you yesterday and the day before that.
- Now can you take God’s past trustworthiness and apply it to your present dilemma?
- “YOU give them something.”
And He says the same thing to us.
- We come up against a situation where the needs of people are just overwhelming.
- There has been a flood…or a fire…or some other tragedy.
- And Jesus says, “You are my church. You are my disciples.”
- “Do something for these people? “
And what do we do?
- Well, there is always two reactions.
- Number one is, “We don’t have enough.”
- “We don’t have enough.”
That is what the disciples said here in verse 17.
- Jesus says, “You give them something” and they say, “WE only have 5 fish and 2 loaves.”
- In other words, they are saying, “We can’t.”
As a church, we sometimes do the same thing don’t we?
- I mean, lets be honest.
- We say, “Jesus we love you. And we worship you. And we want to follow you .But sometimes you ask us to do what we all know is beyond what we can do. You give us these great commissions, and we all know that we can’t really do that.”
- We do that don’t we?
But you know, when we do that we are doing the same thing these disciples did.
- You see, they had forgotten about Jesus being a factor.
- And they have made their judgment based on the limitations of their own potential.
- And that thinking has been passed down through the centuries to the church so that most Christians today look only at their own potential.
- And because we do we get together and we decide that the task is so overwhelming that there is just not much we can do.
But do you know what?
- God doesn’t lead a church to see a need if it is not in the mind of God to use the church to meet the need.
- And one thing we can learn from Jesus is, “Where God is there is a surplus.”
What are you going to do when Jesus puts an incredible need in front of you?
- Well, you can say, “I don’t have enough.”
OR you can hear what Jesus says in vs. 18. Look at verse 18: “Bring them to Me.”
- “Five loaves and two fishes.”
- That’s not much.
- But you see, that is what we need to learn.
- “Not much” is a lot when God is in it.
Look at what happens next starting in verse 19:
- All the people sit down and Jesus says a prayer and He starts passing out food.
- There was so much food that the crowds were satisfied and there were 12 basketfuls of food left over.
And Jesus says, “Pick it up.”
- Why do you think He did that?
- Is He teaching that it is bad to waste?
I don’t think so.
- I think they collect the basketfuls to illustrate the principle of Divine Sufficiency…that Jesus never comes to the end of his resources.
- And we need to learn that but our dependence on our flesh obscures that.
- And we often don’t do because we think it is too much and we are too little.
Here is the answer to fulfilling those overwhelming tasks that we are faced with.
- Whether it is “going and making disciples of all nations”…
- Or meeting the needs of the people of Brady…
- Or meeting the needs of our elderly in this congregation…
- Or working with the youth…or doing benevolence…our supporting missionaries…or organizing VBS…or preaching two sermons every week…or helping victims of a fire or flood…
- Giving Jesus what you have, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, is the key to fulfilling those overwhelming tasks.
On your own, you can’t do it.
- If you rely solely on your own potential, you will fail.
- Sometimes, you won’t even get started.
- Sometimes what we have to offer seems so little that we think, “Why give at all?”
But what we need to understand is, success doesn’t depend solely on us.
- We have got to quit leaving Jesus out of the equation.
- We have got to “Bring what we have to Jesus” regardless of how small or how little it seems…and let Him do great things with it.
Here we are, we are the Lord’s church…and unfortunately we are like the elephant in the circus that is tied to a little stake in the ground.
- We have so much resource available to us…and yet we think and dream so small…all because we are tied and bound by our own small imaginations.
- As His disciples we need to realize that we are not commissioned to talk about what we can’t do.
- But we are challenged to go and bring what we have to God, and see what He can do.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023