Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Happy Meals.
This past week pastor Rick spoke about Jesus feeding the five thousand. He made some interesting points from this scripture not the least of which was that we ought to be less ready to send our problems away. There is great truth in that. When we send our problems away because we would rather not deal with them, we eliminate the possibility of being witness to how God will solve them. We literally are making a concerted effort to subdue the mighty hand of God, though we would probably never say it that way. The truth is the truth though, when we desire to have no problems, we desire to see no miracles.
Let’s look again briefly at the account picking it up as Jesus wrapped up the afternoon of healing and teaching. Mark 6:35-44 reads as follows: When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
One of the other things that I love about this scripture is that after the disciples asked Jesus to send the problem away (to send the people into nearby towns to buy food), Jesus’ response was designed to teach them. In verse 37, we read that Jesus said to them, “You give them something to eat.” Due to their answer to Him, which was a question about how they should pay for the amount of food it would take, I don’t think the disciples got his meaning at the time. Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that it was always the right time to love people by meeting their needs. I think He was also using an incredible teachable moment to help them see that ministry should never cease because supplies seem short. Lesson #1 for the disciples that day: It is always the right time to love those around you by meeting their needs.
Jesus response to the question of funding was telling as well. In the very next verse it is recorded for us that Jesus ignored the question of money (the obvious source of solution to the problem) and simply told the disciples to see what they had on hand. Jesus knew there was a need for bread, so he didn’t waste time talking about money, that wasn’t the need. He asked, “How many loaves of bread do we have? Go and see.” Upon the completion of their search, though I am not sure it was a very exhaustive one…my wife and my mother say men don’t know how to look for anything…they found one young boy’s lunch. Five rolls and two fish. They returned to Jesus to let him know all they had was one lousy happy meal.
I have to wonder, were they sarcastic when they told Jesus what they had found? Did they give it to him with some quick glances between them, just “knowing” sending the people away when they had first suggested it would have been the prudent thing to do. I don’t know. What I am fairly sure of is that they were not handing that happy meal over with a faith filled expectation of what was about to take place. I believe that because Jesus then modeled faith in God by telling everyone to sit down and get ready to eat…while He was still holding only 5 rolls and 2 fish. Lesson # 2 for the disciples that day: acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place.
What happened next? Jesus got happy about a happy meal. It says that when He had thanked God for the provision, He broke the bread and divided the fish and a group of 5-12 thousand people ate until they were full. Lesson # 3 for the disciples that day: thank God for His supply even while it is not yet evident. God loves seeing faith placed in Him. It illustrates that the faithful person understands that everything comes from God. It shows that there is a recognition of not only God’s immeasurable power, but also of His immense love for the powerless.
It would have been miraculous if there had been enough food for half of the people and Jesus doubled it. Even more so if He had tripled or quadrupled the amount He began with. But He began with one little boy’s lunch…one lousy happy meal, and He fed thousands of people until they could eat no more! With God there is no starting place too small. You don’t lack enough to be unusable in God’s hands. You can never have too little for God to use. It is interesting, this scripture doesn’t say the disciples stole that kid’s lunch. It doesn’t say they bought it from him. The inference then is that the kid gave them his happy meal. Lesson # 4 – God doesn’t need us to have much to use us, His ability makes up any difference that may be lacking, He only needs us to be willing to let Him use what we have.
Finally, I find it amazing that there were 12 basketfuls left over. Mom always used this scripture to point out that Jesus believed in leftovers when I was being ungrateful for them as a kid. I think there is even greater truth here though…sorry mom…I still don’t care that much for leftovers. I have heard it said that there were 12 basketfuls left over so that each unbelieving disciple had to carry a bushel of their newly learned lesson. Maybe. Pastor said what a blessing it might have been if it was all presented to the boy the happy meal originally came from…that sure would have made for many more happy meals at his house in the next few days after that. We don’t know if that’s what happened either…the Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know is there was another lesson for the disciples that day. Lesson # 5 God’s ability to meet our needs, far supersedes our needs. God is infinitely able to meet all of our needs, and the needs of others.
Are you one of Jesus’ disciples? Then these lessons are also for you: It is always the right time to love someone by meeting their needs. Acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place. Thank God for His supply to meet the need even while it is still not evident. God can use anything; our job is to make it all available to Him. Finally, God’s ability to meet the need absolutely supersedes any need. God is powerful enough to do it and loves enough to want to. We simply have to stop sending the needs away to have opportunity to see it happen.
So now, moving in faith, willing to be used to lovingly meet needs…go be awesome!