Feeding the 5,000: Jesus Wants Us To Participate in the Miracles

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Luke 9:10-17 — Feeding the 5,000, what else can we learn from this passage. Something begs me to stay here one more day. I think it is the fact that we are going through sort of a reboot or relaunch of our local outreach ministries of our church that bids me to stay here one more day. We are trying to learn what it is that will create maximum participation in our community events. What better place to learn than from our Master Himself. What makes this scene from Jesus’ life so important to those who are served and those serving. It makes me think of the one community event that brings about the most participation from our people. Our community wide Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway is the single most participatory event on our community calendar each year. What can this passage and that event teach us about spurring people on to make a difference in the world around us in the name of Jesus Christ? I think there are three things that jump out.

First, the thing that the feeding of the 5,000 with Jesus and the feeding of the 565 back in November have in common. These events meet a real need in the community and at the same time demonstrates the power of God. In this scene from Luke 9, the crowd had come to see Jesus but is was in a remote, desolate place. They had been there all day learning from Jesus about the Kingdom of God. But, yet they were far away from any place to get food. There was a need there. In meeting the need, Jesus was able to teach them about the power of God. Jesus met needs always. He met physical needs. It is hard to tell a hungry man about the kingdom of God until you feed him. In feeding them, He also demonstrated compassion and the power of God. I think that, too, is the power of the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway (TMG) in the community is that it shows what God can do when we let Him guide us toward meeting real needs in our community. There is a real need of hungry and poverty-stricken people in the community. There are real needs around us in our community. Maybe in giving away the meals, we teach people that God’s church is full of compassionate people. Sure, there are those that are simply working the system and taking advantage of the kindness of our people, but if one person is real need and this event is the difference is starving on Thanksgiving or having a meal and they see Christ through the activity, then it’s a win. There are other needs in the community we can address too that meet real needs each of us every day one on one and as a church. The TMG just scratches the surface of the needs that we can meet as the body of Christ so that we can demonstrate that churches are not inward focused. Just think of the needs in the world that we can really make a difference in, if we as the body of Christ put our mind to it – third world hunger, human trafficking, genocide. Our little TMG is a tool to meet needs and gives the opportunity to teach of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. The gospel is meaningless to hungry man. If we show him the miracle of Jesus’ people working together to solve a problem, then, and then, we can begin to show Him the gospel. Gospel in action first. Gospel in Word next.

I think the second thing that it teaches us as the body of Christ in this scene and in our meal giveaway is that we are the agents through whom Jesus chooses to work. Jesus told the disciples to feed the people. They brought forth what meager resources they could bring and Jesus used that to achieve a miracle. The disciples brought the resources they had to bear on the problem and Jesus used it. Jesus multiplied it. But it was Jesus’ choice to have them feed the people. They participated in the miracle. They participated in the feeding of the large crowd. Jesus gave them a job to do and they participated in the ministry. Jesus combined and multiplied the resources but he allowed his disciples to be His agents in ministry. Jesus could have made the loaves and fishes just appear in everyone’s lap but Jesus gave the job of delivering the miracle to the disciples. The TMG gives people an opportunity to participate in something meaningful after the miracle of multiplication has already happened. God moves the hearts of our people to donate and it is a plain out miracle the extent to which this happens. On the day of the event, Jesus gives His people at our church the opportunity to participate in the miracle. They are able to see people in the eyes and talk to them. God wants us to participate in the kingdom work. Certainly, our church could have given all these meals and turkeys to some local helps agency but when we did it ourselves for the community our people get to participate in the miracle. Seeing the miracle in action had a profound impact on the disciples in this scene in Luke. The witnessed the power of the Master. Same thing at the the TMG. The disciples saw the lid blown off of what could be done with Jesus. Our meal giveaway should do the same for us. We should think after that that nothing is impossible with Christ. In our reboot of community transformation that we are going through, we should be thinking that nothing is impossible in Christ. Nothing is off the table. We should be praying for God to show us how to tackle real needs in really impactful ways. We should not limit God because He is limitless. He takes what we have, multiplies it, and lets us participate in His miracles.

This scene and the meal giveaway should spur us all on to have true faith and trust in Jesus. When we try to solve the world’s problems on our own, we may can make an impact in meager ways. However, when we trust in Jesus and give all the glory to Him and seek Him, we can have a mighty impact. When we have faith in Him, He will provide. When we have faith in Him, we can meet needs. In Him, we can fight for justice. In Him, we can lift up those who need a helping to be set on their feet. In Him, we can get out of our comfort zone and make a real difference in real problems. Is God calling you to feed the 5,000? Is God calling you to open a soup kitchen? Is God calling you to fight against human slavery in the modern world? Is God calling you to participate in house churches in China? Is God calling you to inner city Detroit to help people find ways out of poverty? Is God calling you to meet real and seemingly insurmountable human needs here at home and around the globe? He wants us to participate in saving a fallen world from itself. He wants us to be witness to His miracles. He wants us to trust in Him that nothing is impossible when we have faith in Him. We are only limited by how big we let God be. We are only limited by thinking that our loaves and fishes are not enough.

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