THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
TAKING ON THE MIND OF JESUS
People in the world are lost. They are like sheep without
a shepherd (v.34a), seemingly with no one guiding them and
caring for them. Into such a situation, Jesus comes together
with his disciples. He intends to care for the people, and
involve his disciples in doing so. So Jesus began to teach
the vast crowd many things (v.34b).
this gospel passage, Jesus is also teaching us some important
basic mindsets that we need to have, if we are to participate
in caring for the flock. We need to overcome our human way
of thinking so that we can put on God’s mind.
First, we see Jesus teaching the people. He was giving spiritual
and pastoral care. But what were the disciples concerned
about? Material food! Now yes it was already very late and
they were in a deserted place with no food (v.35). So it
was reasonable for the disciples to be concerned about the
need of the people. Very commendable. Very thoughtful of
that is not how Jesus thinks! Once when his disciples begged
him to eat, he said, “My food is to do the will of
him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” (Jn
4:34). When the opportunity is there, nothing should stand
in the way of proclaiming the gospel and teaching the people.
Certainly not physical hunger. Satisfying the hunger of
the soul is of far greater importance than satisfying the
hunger of the body.
of course is compassionate. He in fact offered his very
life for us. So there is no question about his concern for
our needs, both physical and spiritual. But there are times
when we think we know more than he does, as to what is appropriate
in a particular time or situation. We might think it is
lacking in compassion to allow people to go hungry (even
just for a while), when it is precisely true compassion
to want to feed the soul rather than just the body!
Second, Jesus gives instructions to his disciples, “Give
them some food yourselves.” (v.37a). As his instruments,
we will hear these instructions many times. God works through
us. Jesus formed his group of disciples precisely to be
able to pass on the work to them. At some point, we simply
need to be the ones out there working in the name of Jesus.
the disciples looked to what they had, and decided they
did not have the resources to accomplish what Jesus wanted
done (v.37b). Isn’t that so much like us?!
We do not have enough workers.
do not have enough money.
challenges are too formidable.
work is beyond our capability.
is not possible.
need to know that Jesus will not tell us to do something that
we, under his anointing and the empowerment of the Spirit,
cannot do! It may seem that we cannot do it, and that is very
natural, because we who are weak human flesh are being tasked
to do the very work of God. But that is what happens when
we think with our human minds and look to our human resources.
We balk, and we end up not doing what God wants.
This brings us to the third point. We do fall short, on our
own we will fail, but if we truly do God’s work according
to the direction of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit will empower
us. And we know God can work miracles. Nothing is impossible
for Him. And Jesus already said that if we have faith the
size of a mustard seed, then nothing will be impossible for
us! (Mt 17:20). Why? Because we are doing God’s work.
Because we are mere instruments.
problem is when the instruments think they know better than
needs to happen is for us to just offer to God what we have,
however small or inadequate this might be. The disciples
brought five loaves and two fish to Jesus (v.38), and he
performed a miracle. With this small resource, he fed five
thousand men (v.44), and many more women and children with
How do we take on the very mind of Jesus? “And taking
the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven,
and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the
disciples to set before the people” (v.41). Jesus
did four things that we need to be mindful of.
we need to look to heaven. We look to the One whose work
we are doing, so we will have the proper perspective. When
we look at ourselves we see all the reasons why we would
fail. When we look to God in faith, knowing that He is the
all-powerful Almighty, then we can just confidently present
ourselves as willing instruments.
as we are the instruments by which God feeds His people,
we need to be blessed. Both offering (bread and fish) and
offerors (disciples) need to be blessed. We do holy work.
We need to be purified. We need to be growing in holiness.
While God can make use of any willing instrument, even the
sinner that we all are, He can make greater use of purer
and nobler vessels (2 Tim 2:20-21).
we need to be broken. We need to be humbled. Oftentimes
this comes through affliction. Being laid low enables God
to raise us up. This is the very way of Jesus (Phil 2:5-11).
This is the way of the cross. This is the way of redemptive
we and what we have to offer are given out and set before
the people. When we have been prepared, we go out to where
the needy people are. God uses us to satisfy the hunger
their hearts and souls.
And that indeed is what will happen. As we take on the very
mind of Jesus. As we look to our Master in heaven. As we
are blessed and broken and given away, people will all eat
and be satisfied (v.42). And guess what? There will be so
much more food left over (v.43). Our talents, gifts and
resources will be multiplied! We will have more than enough.
What used to be meager and lacking will become much and
has many followers. There are many who are willing to become
his disciples. And indeed they are very much needed, because
God has already decided to work through human instruments.
But God can only truly use them if they take on the mind
book of Job teaches us that God the Almighty is someone
way over us and beyond our capability to fully understand.
This then is the challenge. Can we think like Christ? By
God’s grace, and our humble acceptance of Him in our
lives, we can.
we, like Paul, be able to say: “‘For who has
known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16).
(January 5, 2010)
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