Bible Reference: John 6:5-9
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Bible Text: 5 Jesus looked up and saw a crowd of people coming toward him. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough bread for all these people to eat?” 6 He asked Philip this question to test him. Jesus already knew what he planned to do.
7 Philip answered, “We would all have to work a month to buy enough bread for each person here to have only a little piece!”
8 Another follower there was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Andrew said, 9 “Here is a boy with five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. But that is not enough for so many people.”
OBSERVATION: When faced with challenges that are far greater than we could humanly see the answers to, what do you do? Are you more apt to do like Philip and start the wheels turning as you try to resolve the matter through financial means? Or are you more like Andrew and will start in earnest to see what material goods might be available to help solve the challenge? Or will you do like Jesus and not worry about how it will be resolved, but rather, as you see the need, know that God will resolve and meet the needs in His time? Meditate with me as we ponder our response to the tests of our faith. Take time to study these verses together with me.
APPLICATION: I can share a very real scenario with you, as we delve into this study today. I know a church who became overwhelmed by the influx of young people that God placed in their laps to learn about He and His precious Son. Their leadership felt the call by God to begin the search for property as He needed to see the church reach even more of the unsaved of their community. In the initial stages, the leadership was challenged much like Phillip was. For there was a lot to consider – the beautiful building that they currently occupy; the perfect location they are in, surrounded by a great neighborhood; and of course, money, money, money – for it is so expensive to purchase commercial property in a location near enough to meet the spiritual needs of their (mostly) lost community; it is also unbelievably expensive to build a sanctuary and supportive buildings to meet the growing needs of the ministry; etc, etc. This must have been very much like Andrew thought, for this church was also looking at the means they have, or could possible acquire, in order to make this humongous project possible. They truly felt a lot like Andrew was feeling, for there is just no way they could make this happen. Fortunately friends, it is not until we have exhausted all of our efforts, and our thinking process, that we lay ourselves before our Master and admit that it will have to be Him feed the 5,000+ crowd. It would have to be God who will find a suitable property for this church and build a ministry center to reach the lost of their community. Praise God, it is evident from our written text, that Jesus did that which seemed impossible in the eyes of his disciples, for He fed over 5,000 people multiplying just a morsel of food, so that it was more than enough to feed them. These folk came to hear Jesus teach and perform miracles, but I really wonder if their imaginations ever stretched enough to think that one of Jesus’ miracles would be performed on them? For this church that I referenced, I am very close to it so I know that God has pointed their leadership towards a property of the same size they felt led to look for; in an area that is surrounded on three sides by homes where families might be reached for the Lord; near enough to many other locations in the city where many other ministry opportunities exist; and a purchase amount where they will be able to purchase the property from funds already provided by God! Now, will they find the money to build a modern Ministry Center? Let’s just say that it was not a question in feeding the 5,000 and I am happy to join with the church in believing that He will miraculously provide the means for extending God’s work in the manner in which the leadership was first led. Friends, we can’t out-give God, and we could never imagine how He will work in our midst over the needs that we have, and the needs that He leads us to. I don’t believe that God will ever lead us to a place of ministry, where He will not also lead us through every circumstance in getting to the final destination of which He has called us. I have every reason to believe that some of you reading this devotional today may be at a crossroads in your life where you feel called to do more for the Lord, but you may be struggling in your spirit as to how, and why. Please be encouraged that the same God who tested Philip and Andrew about their faith, is the same God that may be testing you. Please remember how He provided for the 5,000, and know that He is still God, and that He is still very capable of providing for you. Trust Him my friend, for He loves you more than you could ever imagine. I believe that He wants to hold your hand and help you through whatever you feel might be an impossible next move in your ministry! Only God can do that.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You looked at the awesome crowd and You saw their need. There is no indication that anyone was falling down from weakness due to starvation, nor that the people were begging You for food or a miracle. However You knew their need and You provided what they needed. Thank You Lord for convincing us today of the awesome God that we serve. We go to great extent to try and analyze what we feel like we need, and how far we could stretch the dollars that we’ve saved. But as we consider the miracles already performed by You, I am convinced that You have all this already figured out. Please help us to simply place our faith in You; surrender self to You; and allow You to control our destiny in the way that You have designed for us, knowing that You will lead us through all that You have called us to. Please rule and reign in full authority over us precious Lord. AMEN!