As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:15-21 (NIV84)
God used this passage to challenge and encourage me recently. First, I noticed how the disciples were ordinary men. At times, they reacted to their circumstances with fleshly responses. Wow – I can relate. These fallible fishermen seemed to be tired of people, hungry, and a bit irritated with their current situation. Have you ever been there? I know that I have. I can sometimes feel a lack of compassion and desire to serve. I can get just downright lazy. In those moments I think, “Man, how can God use me with my selfish heart?”
What I love about this scripture is that ultimately, all those hungry people were completely “satisfied”. They got their physical and spiritual needs met perfectly. And, Jesus used the disciples to accomplish this feat! How did that happen when these men seemed so ready to just “send them away!”?
Here is what God showed me. Jesus’ ability to love the multitudes, to demonstrate His compassion, and to satisfy their needs was NOT dependent on the disciples. Not at all. God’s purpose was going to be fulfilled – with or without them. This is still true for us today. If we are willing, God will make use of us. If we say, “Here I am, Lord-tired, hungry and grumpy – but I want to serve Your purposes and Your people. Use me.” Then, get ready to see a miracle!
God is the compassionate one. God is the provider. Only God can satisfy the people He puts in your lives when their needs have to be met. That’s good news for you and me today. Are you ready to offer Jesus your life? However imperfect that it may be, watch Him multiply it and fully satisfy the lives of people around you!
Willing to be used,
Posted in A Word from the Pastor