THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
Today’s gospel: Mark 8:1-10
Jesus was preaching to a great crowd for already three days.
Expressing his desire to feed them before sending them home,
his disciples told him, “Where can anyone get enough
bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
(v.4). Jesus then took the seven loaves and a few fish, multiplied
them, and fed everyone, with even more left over than what
they started with.
much to learn about how God provides.
look to what we lack. Not enough money, no warm bodies, lack
of experience, lack of training, lack of leaders, no connections.
When his disciples told him there was not enough bread, Jesus
simply took what was there and performed his miracle.
#1: If it is God’s work, if it is what God wills,
then He will provide.
yes, we know God will provide. But often we look to just making
do. We look to just having enough. We at times just hope we
can get by, and get the task over with, without any major
problem. But that demeans a great God. That diminishes an
all-powerful God. That reduces God to our level. When what
God wants to do is to raise us to His level.
lesson #2: God not only will provide, but will provide
abundantly. God does want to pour out the fullness of
His blessings upon His people.
that is not enough. Human beings can also provide abundantly.
But only God can provide miraculously. Jesus took seven loaves
and a few fish, fed about four thousand hungry people, who
“ate and were satisfied” (v.8a), and still ended
up with so much more! “They picked up the fragments
left over--seven baskets.” (v.8b).
lesson #3: God not only will provide abundantly, but will
What must we do to experience such provision?
we must know what is in the heart of God and what He wants
to be done. “In those days when there again was a great
crowd without anything to eat, he summoned the disciples and
said, ‘My heart is moved with pity for the crowd’”
(v.1-2a). We must be there when God summons us, and we must
go to Him to listen to what He has to say. This enables us
to conform our lives in such a way as to be able to be used
we must look to what God has already provided for us, and
make use of that. “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven” (v.5). We do have God-given gifts and
resources. Granted they are not enough to do the mighty divine
work of God. But God uses those as His starting point.
we must turn over what we have to God, so He can bless and
sanctify them, and make them ready for use. “Then, taking
the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them” (v.6b).
We do God’s work, and so we need to ask for God’s
blessing upon ourselves and our meager resources.
we must know that God uses us as instruments of His will and
channels of His grace. Jesus “gave them to his disciples
to distribute” (v.6c). God acts in and through ordinary
human beings such as us. This is the mysterious way that God
works. This gives us confidence that indeed, even with meager
resources, we can move ahead.
we must use what God has given us, and in faith trust that
His provision will be more than enough. “And they distributed
them to the crowd.” (v.6d). We simply act, making use
of what we have. It is up to God to provide what is lacking,
and to multiply whatever we already have.
Given the great work of God entrusted to us, we will often
think we lack adequate resources. And indeed that is true.
But this is precisely the situation that God allows us to
be in. It is a situation that allows God to manifest His greatness
and power. Out of our weakness is His strength. Out of our
scarcity is His abundance. Out of our inadequacy is His full
competence and power.
as we go forth in weakness but looking to God’s provision,
then we grow in humility, in expectant faith, in hope and
trust, in total dependence on God. Here we see why God indeed
might cause situations of a lack of resources. It keeps us
from pride, from self-sufficiency, from being self-referential,
from no longer begging God for His help.
A final word. The great crowd had nothing to eat and were
hungry, but they stayed with Jesus for three days because
what they were really hungry for was the word of God, and
with Jesus’ preaching, even before the distribution
of the loaves and fish, they already ate and were satisfied.
They partook of his wisdom and were full.
they were in a deserted place. Unlike the disciples’
limited outlook, that was not a bad thing. They were away
from the hustle and bustle of the towns and villages. They
were with Jesus, and could focus on him, without the distractions
of everyday life.
Jesus wants people with him so he can feed them. Jesus’
“heart is moved with pity for the crowd” (v.2a)
since many of them are lost, are hungry, are in the deserts
of their lives. Jesus wants to feed them and satisfy them.
Jesus wants to manifest his glory among them. And he will
.... but only as we allow ourselves to be used as his instruments,
with whatever meager resources we have.
provide. Jesus is indeed there with us as we go into the regions
of the world to bring him into the midst of people. Jesus
“got into the boat with his disciples and came to the
region of Dalmanutha.” (v.10).