“Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
Matthew 14:15-21 ESV
It could have been a tiring day for the disciples and it was approaching evening time. They suggested to Jesus to call it a day for the ministry and send the crowd away so that they could go and grab a bite on their own.
Jesus’ surprising reply came – “Leave them here. You guys will provide food for them.” Apparently, to Jesus, the job wasn’t done yet. His compassion for the people and their needs caused Him to decide to stay to minister. But He wasn’t dismissing the fact that the people needed physical food on top of spiritual ones. He was a balanced leader who understood the needs in the natural realm as well as in the spiritual realm. Likewise, ministering to others requires the consideration of their total needs, not just lopsided perspectives on the spiritual. Do not end up to be someone that is so heavenly minded that is of no earthly use!
To the disciples, the master’s assignment was probably a stressful one – how ever could they feed 5000 people when all they had with them then were 5 loafs and 2 fishes? Their responses were logically reasonable. At that juncture, Jesus told them to pass the food they had to Him. It was at this point that Jesus took over. Have you experienced a similar dilemma the disciples were experiencing – facing a mammoth task where your limited ability, capacities or resources make it impossible to fulfil it? Jesus is inviting you to hand over all these limitations to Him. Yes, when human logic and human limitation fails, Jesus offers to TAKE OVER!
The crowd was asked to sit on the ground and Jesus took the breads & the fish, looked up to heaven and gave thanks. Then He broke the bread and gave to the disciples to distribute to the masses. First, Jesus “took over the food”, now He “gave them back.” Jesus solved the limitation problem (unknowingly to them) and then let the disciples continue with their original assignment to provide food for the people. He did not take over their assignment. He wanted them to be a part of the miracle. Yes! Jesus always wants us to become a participant of His miracle, not just a bystander or spectator who just watch and not involved!
Distribution of food was a non-spectacular event. Almost a routine task – yet in the midst of that routine process, a miracle was in progress! No one realised the miracle until at the end of the cleaning up of the ground when there were 12 baskets of crumbs as well as filled stomachs! Miracles do not always manifest in dramatic, spectacular proportions, but some through quiet unfolding in the mundane facets of life. (You may also recall a similar quiet miracle of water turned into wine Jesus performed at the village of Cana). At times, all you need to do is to carry on with your routine simple tasks that you are supposed to do by simple obedience, and you will become a part of an unfolding miracle.
- Are you encountering a humongous task as against your ability or adequacy of resources to perform? Come to Jesus and turn them over to Him. Just do what you need to do in small steps and you never know, the final outcome is a quiet victory!
- While God is capable of performing spectacular signs and wonders, many of the miracles He performs come in quiet but powerful manifestations, perhaps only known to yourself or a few people. Give Him the prerogative to work in your life in His own ways.