Give Him What You Have
Give Him What You Have
I would like for you to look at verse 37 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 44 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 35 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 37 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 6 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 we know that the Lord wants us 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.
Back up in verses 12 and 13 the disciples had been sent out by Jesus to preach, and heal, and cast out demons.
- And their preaching mission has attracted the attention of the entire region.
And so as they come back to Jesus and vs. 31 tells us that “the people were coming and going so much that the disciples didn’t have time to eat.”
- And Jesus notices what is happening to his disciples.
- They have been on this mission tour, the pace has been hectic, and they are wearing down.
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 34.
- 34 says that when Jesus went ashore, “He saw a great multitude and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
- He didn’t see them with eyes concerned only for Him-self.
- He didn’t say, “I am tired…don’t bother me…leave me alone.”
- Instead, He saw them with eyes full of compassion and concern.
And as disciples of Christ, 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 look at 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…and look at why?
- It says they were like “sheep without a shepherd.”
Isn’t that the way most people are when it comes to their needs.
- Don’t they just need someone to lead them?
- They come to your door and they have a problem.
- Their marriage isn’t going well…or they are a little depressed…or scared.
- They are in trouble financially…or physically…or emotionally…or spiritually.
- And most of the time, isn’t what they need is someone to lead them?
- To just help them find their way? Guide them? Encourage them? Help them?
- And yet, we are so reluctant to take our time….to sacrifice some rest…to help.
These people needed a shepherd…and look at what Jesus does.
- In verse 34, He responds by giving them what they needed most: “He began teaching them many things.”
- This is perhaps the most important job that a shepherd does.
- He helps sheep learn where and how to go.
And so Jesus spends the day with them, compassion pouring out of His soul for them…but notice what His disciples do?
Vs. 35, it is late in the day and the disciples say, “Lord this is a desolate place. It is getting quite late. And if these people are going to eat you better send them away.”
- 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.”
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 37. Look at what Jesus says.
- He says, “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?”
Do you remember what these disciples have just been doing?
- Remember verses 12 and 13?
- 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?
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, look at what the disciples do in vs. 37:
- Jesus says, “You give them something” and they say, “To give them something would take 7 months of a man’s wages.”
- In other words, they are saying, “we can’t.”
As a church, as well as individually, we sometimes do the same thing don’t we?
- 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 let me tell you something.
- 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 can’t.”
OR you can hear what Jesus says in vs. 38. Look at verse 38: “How many loaves do you have? Go look.”
- Do you know what Jesus is saying here? He is saying, “Bring what you have. “
- “Go out and see what you have and bring it to Me.”
And look what they bring in verse 38: “Five loaves and two fishes.”
- That’s not much.
- But 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 39:
- 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