June 25, 2005
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away." And his disciples answered him, "How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?" And he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven." And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
(Mark 8:1-10 ESV)
The Feeding of the Four Thousand. Everyone has heard this one -- it's one of the most famous miracles of Christ.
What was the point of the miracle? Most of these folks had been following CHrist for a long time -- Jesus said they'd been with Him for three days. They didn't head home at dinner time: these people travelled and slept on the road, literally following Jesus, and being taught by Him. They had heard the teachings; what more did He have to show them?
He wanted to show them that they needed to rely on Him for everything. And He meant everything. Not just spiritual needs. Not just miraculous healings. Their simple, daily needs. Their "daily bread."
We trust God for the big stuff. We know He can cure cancer, heal illnesses, convert the lost. We know He can change lives. But how often do we trust him to give us what we need each day? How often do we rely on Him to feed us, and clothe us?
Who gave you the job that you have? Who gets you to work safely each day? Who gives you the abilities that you need to do your job? These all come from God. He has provided for you: He is sovereign, and He is taking care of you.
Where we run into problems is when we lose sight of this simple truth. We look to ourselves, and our own efforts. "I did this, and I got this bonus." "Look how well I did last quarter." We focus on our own abilities, without giving credit to the One who gave us those abilities. And then we wonder if He's mad at us when things go wrong.
When those things happen, God is trying to remind us that we aren't the focus. We aren't the ones in charge. He is. And He is worthy of all glory and honor. We're not.
In the next passage, we'll see that the disciples didn't get this, either. They couldn't stop worrying about things that God had promised to provide. And we do the same, every day.
Focus on God, and His calling for your life. Don't worry about where the paycheck is going to come from -- He has already provided it for you.
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